House to vote Thursday on relief package for wildfires, Puerto Rico

The House is set to vote Thursday on a $36.5 billion emergency funding bill to help respond to wildfires ravaging parts of Northern California and to aid Puerto Rico in its recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

House GOP leaders confirmed Wednesday that the lower chamber would vote on the legislation Thursday. It's unclear when the Senate would vote on it since it's on recess this week and lawmakers will return next week.

"Now we need to act. We've got the disaster supplemental that the Trump administration requested last week. We've got that supplemental coming to the floor tomorrow. We posted the bill yesterday," Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said at a press conference Wednesday. "This is a time when our country needs to respond. This is a time when all levels and units of government need to respond."

The bill includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) disaster relief fund, more than the Trump administration's $12.8 billion request. It also meet the $576.5 million request for efforts to combat the wildfires and $16 billion for debt relief to the National Flood Insurance Program.

According to an outline of the measure released by the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday night, the bill also includes a provision that would allow Puerto Rico's low-income residents to receive emergency nutrition assistance that other states affected by hurricanes receive.

Seventeen people have died in the California wildfires, firefighters say, as 17 wildfires burn across the state and have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses

The death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria has risen to 45 people, the governor said Tuesday, with a majority of the island still without power. Ryan will visit Puerto Rico on Friday. 

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.