President Donald Trump’s administration is urging states to apply for $500 million to help them rebuild homes, flood damaged areas and prepare for hurricanes, while also directing federal funds to help pay for flood damage.
In a letter sent to state officials, the White House Office of Management and Budget said the relief is needed because of the state’s “unique vulnerability” and the federal government’s response to the disaster.
The letter is the latest in a series of pleas to states for help from Trump, who has pledged to take the nation back from “the worst of the worst.”
“We have a long way to go,” said Michael Leiter, who served as the acting undersecretary for disaster relief for FEMA during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“It’s time to get started.”
The White House’s letter said the funds are needed for the state of Louisiana to build flood barriers and other infrastructure that will help the public be better prepared for future storms.
The White House said it also is requesting $300 million for flood control improvements in the Gulf Coast, which is experiencing the worst flooding in its history.
The White and State Departments of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency will also work with states to identify ways to help rebuild homes and businesses, the letter said.
It did not identify any specific funding requests from Trump.
“We recognize that some states may be unprepared to rebuild homes due to the storm, and that is why FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are requesting additional assistance from the federal Government in the form of disaster aid,” the White, State, and Environment Departments said in the letter.
“We are also committed to working with the states to ensure that they have the resources they need to build, repair, and restore their homes and industries to the standards and expectations of their residents.”
Trump’s administration has been seeking help from states in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which left more than 1,300 people dead and caused millions of dollars of damage.
The flood-ravaged region of Texas has been hit hard by the storm and has been facing rising floodwaters since at least January.
Trump has blamed the storm on the lack of preparation, while the National Guard has been deployed to bolster infrastructure in the state.
The president also has been asking for federal help to build homes in the wake of the hurricane.
He is expected to sign an order this week directing FEMA to create a $10 billion relief package for the affected areas.
The request comes amid heightened tensions between the White and state governments following Trump’s decision to pull the U,S.
out of the Paris climate agreement, a move that led to a nationwide protest and led to several deaths.
The Trump administration has also been pressuring states to help with Hurricane Harvey relief, with the administration proposing $1.6 billion in federal disaster relief in a letter from the White house chief of staff, John Kelly, to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Kelly said the federal relief will be targeted to “most impacted states” and said states will be asked to provide $1 for every $1 they receive.
Trump also has asked Congress for $25 billion in aid, including a $100 billion aid package for hurricane-ravage states and a $2.6 trillion bill for flood relief.
Kelly has said he has been asked by both Republican and Democratic leaders to work with the Trump administration to provide disaster relief.