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Vote On Federal Disaster Aid Could Up Pressure On Abbott To Tap Rainy Day Fund

Governor Greg Abbott will come to Houston later this month to meet with Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council members to discuss Harvey relief. Turner and his colleagues plan to make the point that Abbott’s reluctance to use the fund has made it harder to get Congress to pay for flood control projects

Congress is preparing to vote on a federal budget containing $90 billion in disaster relief. That includes money for the U.S. for long-term flood control projects, which Governor Greg Abbott and other Texas leaders have been demanding for months. If the bill passes, it could pressure on the governor to put more state money into recovery efforts.

Earlier this week, members of Houston City Council traveled to Washington, D.C. Their aim: get Texas' congressional delegation to pass the stalled Hurricane Harvey relief bill. Council Member Amanda Edwards called the meetings productive. Still, the Senate Appropriations Committee staff raised an awkward point.

"One of the first questions that we did get with respect to just the broader perception from the Appropriations staff was, ‘What's the status of the Rainy Day Fund?' And so there is a perception or question of us having access to resources, which then allows blame to continue to be passed," said Edwards.

Mayor Sylvester Turner agreed the state's failure to unlock the Rainy Day Fund made it harder to press for federal Harvey aid. Turner said he had planned to send a separate delegation to Austin to make that point to Governor Abbott, but "the governor has decided to come to Houston for that meeting instead, and so that meeting will take place this month here in Houston."

Governor Abbott's office confirmed the visit will take place by the end of February, though no date has been set yet.


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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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