Gov. Greg Abbott says the nearly $8 billion pledged by the Trump administration would only serve as a ‘down payment’ on what will be needed to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Abbott expects the storm to cost more than the $120 billion the federal government spent on Hurricane Katrina recovery, Experts have estimated the total needed for Harvey relief at between $150-200 billion.
To increase the amount of money flowing from the federal government to Texas and to those affected by Harvey, Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling, and then agree to appropriate the needed funds. Such a vote will be difficult for Republican members, who face pressure from their constituents to keep a tight reign on federal spending.
Mike Ward, Austin bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle says that beyond finding the money to pay for Harvey relief not covered by the federal government, state and local officials face a significant loss in tax revenue from areas affected by the storm, placing a further strain on their budgets.