The Senate this week will look to pass legislation that provides $15.25 billion to help flood relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, nearly double the size of the relief bill the House passed this week.
The House-passed bill provided $7.4 billion in disaster relief aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and another $450 million for the Small Business Authority disaster loan program.
But late Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee released an amended version of the bill that adds $7.4 billion more for Community Development Block Grant funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"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," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
The extra funding was added as disaster clean up efforts mount in flood-ravaged Houston and as a Category 5 Hurricane approaches South Florida.
The Senate is set to vote on the measure as early as today, but the vote has not yet been scheduled. The House must then pass the Senate version before sending the package to President Trump.
The amended bill also reflects the surprise agreement reached between President Trump and congressional Democrats on Thursday, as it would allow continued government spending through Dec. 8.
It would also suspend the debt ceiling through Dec. 8. That language would effectively let the government borrow as much as it wants through that date, and then possibly several weeks or months beyond that date, as the Treasury Department is able to use "extraordinary measures" to limit borrowing.