The US House of Representatives has approved roughly US$8 billion in initial emergency aid for relief and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey, which tore into Texas last month.
On Wednesday the House-passed measure, which provides US$7.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and US$450 million for the Small Business Administration, will now go to the Senate. Barring unexpected setbacks, the aid measure is expected to be sent to the White House by the end of the week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is considering linking the Harvey aid to a measure to raise the debt ceiling, or the federal government's borrowing limit, that would run through the 2018 midterm elections, aides said.
Conservative Republicans oppose tying Harvey aid to a debt ceiling measure, but Democratic leaders have said they would support linking the aid to a shorter-term debt ceiling increase.
The total estimate of damage has been estimated at up to US$180 billion.