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Cochran pushes for action on disaster relief, debt ceiling, government operations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today encouraged swift approval of legislation to address critical disaster response needs and to meet the funding obligations of the nation.

The Senate is expected to take up legislation this week to provide initial emergency supplemental funding for the federal response to disasters caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, raise the debt ceiling to allow the United States to meet its fiscal obligations, and assure the continued operation of the federal government through Dec. 8.

“The legislation before the Senate would address the nation’s most pressing needs. The serious nature of the natural disasters and fiscal commitments before us demand the Senate and House act without delay. We need to act to support the victims, volunteers, and first responders on the ground,” Cochran said.

“The Congress has a duty to ensure that government operations are maintained and that our country’s financial obligations are met. Passing this legislation allows us to fulfill these responsibilities,” he said.

The $15.25 billion emergency supplemental package includes $7.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund and $450 million for the Small Business Authority disaster loan program. In addition, the legislation provides $7.4 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development for areas most affected by 2017 disasters.

With the support of the Trump administration, the Senate legislation includes a continuing resolution, or CR, to maintain government operations at current levels through Dec. 8. The debt ceiling would also be extended to that date as part of this bill.

The CR includes a limited number of “anomalies,” which are programmatic or funding changes related to unique situations arising during the duration of the CR.

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