WASHINGTON — President Bush will request another $18 billion in federal relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina in his fiscal 2007 budget, the top rebuilding official said Thursday.
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The request will include funding for federal facilities such as military bases and veterans hospitals damaged by the September storm.
Donald Powell, the coordinator for rebuilding the Gulf Coast, confirmed that the administration would request $18 billion for that effort.
The money would push the total federal commitment for rebuilding to more than $100 billion, according to administration tallies. He said it probably would be the last such spending request for the current budget year. He said a detailed request would go to Congress within 10 days to 30 days.
Powell said he does not anticipate additional money for the region in the 2007 budget Bush planned to announce Monday.
Powell provided little detail about specifically what the money would be used for, saying it would include money for housing, roads and levees.
“That’s a lot of money,” he said, referring to the $100 billion.
The request is also likely to include funding for federal facilities such as military bases and veterans hospitals damaged by the September storm.
Congressional staffers were being briefed on the requests. The hurricane proposal comes on top of $62 billion Congress approved last year in the wake of devastation from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In December, Congress dedicated $29 billion of those funds for such purposes as levee repair and construction, emergency funds to compensate homeowners whose hurricane insurance does not cover flood losses, and child care, mental health and other social services.
Congressional sources said they had not expected the request for additional funds for another week or two.
An aide to Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, said the White House might have moved up the hurricane relief after harsh criticism of President Bush’s scant mention of the disaster in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
“Today I think the White House is really just trying to improve their P.R. (public relations) on Katrina,” said Adam Sharp, Landrieu’s spokesman.
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