Trump request $7.9 billion for Harvey relief "down payment"


     President Donald Trump has sent lawmakers a $7.9 billion request for an initial down payment for Harvey relief and recovery efforts.
 
    The request, expected to be swiftly approved by Congress, would add $7.4 billion to rapidly dwindling Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster aid coffers and $450 million to finance disaster loans for small businesses.
   
   The initial Harvey package is just the first installment for immediate disaster response like housing assistance, cleanup and FEMA-financed home repairs. The White House says more than 436,000 households have registered for FEMA aid.
 
   The request also reiterates the need for Congress to increase the government's $19.9 trillion borrowing limit by the end of this month. Republicans are signalling that they may link the unpopular debt limit increase to Harvey relief.