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White House requests $7.9B for initial Harvey relief efforts

Houston recovery

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has sent lawmakers a $7.85 billion request for an initial down payment for Harvey relief and recovery efforts, CBS News confirms.

The request, expected to be swiftly approved by Congress, would add $7.4 billion to rapidly dwindling Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid coffers and $450 million to finance disaster loans for small businesses. 

The initial Harvey package is just the first installment for immediate disaster response like housing assistance, cleanup and FEMA-financed home repairs. The White House says more than 436,000 households have registered for FEMA aid. 

Earlier on Friday, FEMA confirmed to CBS News that it has asked for 4,500 homes from pre-fabricated housing manufacturers to send to Harvey relief. 

The request also reiterates the need for Congress to increase the government's $19.9 trillion borrowing limit by the end of this month. Republicans are signaling that they may link the unpopular debt limit increase to Harvey relief.

The request, written by Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, also calls on Congress to re-authorize the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire on Sept. 30.

Mr. Trump visited Houston on Tuesday and he will return on Saturday. 

Harvey, which made landfall near Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm, dropped record-setting rainfall for the continential United States. It's already expected to be one of the costliest storms in U.S. history. At least 37 people were killed in the storm and its aftermath. 

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