Congress considering nearly $1.7B Florence relief package

LUMBERTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 19: Jovani Quintano walks through a flooded neighborhood after heavy rains brought on by Hurricane Florence on September 19, 2018 in Lumberton, North Carolina. The death toll from the storm stands at 37 in three states, including 27 fatalities in North Carolina, according to published reports. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Congress is starting to consider almost $1.7 billion in new money to aid recovery efforts from Florence.

Lawmakers already are facing a deadline this week to fund the government before the start of the new budget year Oct. 1, and members of Congress will try to act on the disaster relief along with separate legislation to fund the government.

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee says the money would be available as grants to states to help rebuild housing and public works, and assist businesses as they recover from the storm.

GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey says it’s “a first round” and that lawmakers are ready to act quickly if the federal disaster relief agency also needs more money.