MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Congress passed a multi-billion dollar disaster relief bill to bring aid to storm victims who have struggled to get back on their feet. It is help that many businesses, residents, and farmers across the country who were affected by a slew of severe weather over the past year have been waiting for.
For weeks, Democrats and Republicans went back and forth over how much money to spend, and where that money should be spent. In the end lawmakers approved a $19.1 billion relief package that will bring relief to storm victims across the United States. This includes places like Lee County and the Wiregrass where damage was left behind by Hurricane Michael back in October.
“This disaster relief bill is long overdue,” said Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL. “This funding will go a long way toward helping Alabamians who lost their homes due to tornadoes in Lee County, and farmers who saw devastating crop losses as a result of Hurricane Michael. I am glad that my Republican colleagues finally put partisan politics aside to help Americans affected by natural disasters.”
“For eight long months, farmers in the Wiregrass and throughout the Southeast have waited for disaster relief aid after Hurricane Michael devastated the region last October. I am very proud that Congress has at last delivered this long-overdue assistance, and I am eager to see President Trump sign this bill into law to finally help the many Americans who have suffered extreme devastation in the wake of natural disasters across the country," said Rep. Martha Roby, R-AL.
The disaster aid package passed Monday includes $19.1 billion for disaster relief around the country, including:
- Agricultural Programs — $3.005 billion. Payments for crop and livestock losses due to hurricanes, typhoons, volcanic activities, tornadoes, floods, snowstorms or wildfires during 2018 and 2019.
- Emergency Forest Restoration Program — $480 million. Assistance to owners of private forests to restore disaster-damaged forests.
- Emergency Conservation Program — $558 million. Provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters.
- Rural Community Facilities Program — $150 million. Grants for facilities to provide health care, education, public safety, and public services to rural communities.
The bill now goes to the White House to be signed by President Trump. The president has indicated that he will sign this bill into law.