WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved broadly bipartisan legislation Thursday that would provide billions for natural disaster relief, military and economic aid to Ukraine and funding to help low-income families offset the rising costs of heating and cooling their homes.
It includes $2.5 billion in assistance for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire that burned large swaths of New Mexico this spring, $2 billion in Community Development Block Grant disaster relief funding for states impacted by natural disasters during 2021 and 2022, and $1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
President Joe Biden said Thursday that given ongoing natural disasters, such as the hurricane in Florida now moving up the coast, more funding may be needed later this year to help communities recover from hurricanes and severe storms.
The package approved Thursday was formed around a short-term spending bill that must pass before Friday at midnight to keep the federal government open through Dec. 16 while congressional leaders and the Biden administration attempt to reach a full-year spending deal.
Using the stopgap spending bill to give themselves a couple more months to work through the annual appropriations process is a regular practice for Congress, which hasn’t completed its work on time since the last century.
The 72-25 Senate vote Thursday sends the measure to the U.S. House, where members are expected to clear the package for Biden on Friday. Both of North Carolina’s senators — Richard Burr and Thom Tillis — voted ‘yes.’ Read more