Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, predicted Thursday that Congress would deliver financial relief to the flood-ravaged areas of his state in three tranches, starting next week.
"There will be some immediate help that will likely come as early as early next week, and I ... don't think that will be a necessarily hard discussion or a hard vote," Burgess told CNN when asked how Congress will respond to Hurricane Harvey.
"After that first wave, clearly there will be data collected and there will be evidence presented, and as far as the cost of recovery, I think that will be better known in two and a half, three month's time," he said. "I don't know what the time sequence will be, but there will be a secondary wave of federal dollars that are appropriated, and likely as not, there will be a third wave."
Burgess said he prefers these separate, smaller waves of aid as opposed to a single, large bill, like the one Congress passed to help people in New York and New Jersey after 2012's Superstorm Sandy. When pushed on why he voted against Sandy aid in 2012, he said he was worried, and remains worried, that these bills are written in a way that ensures prompt delivery of aid.
He said in the case of Sandy and Hurricane Katrine, millions of dollars were left unspent, which sometimes happened because local officials weren't able to meet the strict conditions that the federal government put on the money.
"I want to be certain that the help gets where it's needed, when it's needed, but yeah, we do have a responsibility to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollar, and that's a concurrent responsibility," he said.
It's not clear at all how much money Congress might spend to help Houston and surrounding areas recover from Harvey. However, one House Democrat has said the final bill will be well over $100 billion, and another predicted $150 billion.
The feds spent about $120 billion in total on recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina.