John Cornyn: Congress is stiff-arming Texas on hurricane aid

Texas Sen. John Cornyn said Congress may not act on his state’s $61 billion disaster assistance request this month, as he had hoped.

The second-ranking Senate Republican warned Wednesday that the emergency aid might get caught up in a complicated year-end government funding package that could jeopardize quick approval of the hurricane aid.

“We’ve gotten the Heisman of sorts,” Cornyn told reporters, referring to the college football trophy in which a player hold his arm out. “We keep being told to wait, wait, wait.”

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott was on Capitol Hill this week advocating for passage of the money to fund a major rebuilding of his state after it was seriously damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

Cornyn said he was worried that if talks break down over the year-end funding package and just a short-term spending bill — known as a continuing resolution or CR — is passed to fund the government for just a few months, the disaster aid language could fall by the wayside.

“Now it looks like it will be part of this year-end omnibus, which if there are too many things added to it, will collapse under its own weight and we’ll end up with a CR, which means no disaster funding will be added,” Cornyn said.

A senior Senate Republican aide told CNN that the White House has not yet submitted a disaster aid request but that it was expected by mid-November.

Cornyn defended the robust size of the aid package for Texas, which does not include money for other areas hit by recent natural disasters.

“It’s a big state and it was a terrible event,” he said. “But I think it’s a starting place.”

Abbott has said such a large sum is needed because Hurricane Harvey was comparable in its destruction to both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy combined.

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