U.S. Representative Ted Poe (TX-02) announced today that the U.S. House of Representatives passed an Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act. The bill will raise the federal reimbursement rate for Hurricane Rita damage claims in Texas to a 90 percent federal, 10 percent state rate. The adjusted rate will save cities and counties in Texas effected by the hurricane approximately $200 million. In the first Hurricane Supplemental Bill, Texas was slated to receive only 75 percent funding for Hurricane Rita reimbursements, while Louisiana received 90 percent for damages caused by the same storm.

The reimbursement funding level is retroactive and is available to local cities and counties through the governors office. The federal government has finally done right by the State of Texas and not let state lines determine funding for disaster relief, said Poe. The people of Southeast Texas have fought long and hard for this funding and I will continue that fight in Washington until all our needs are met.

Also included in the Emergency Appropriations Supplemental is $5.2 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for Gulf Coast States affected by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. This funding will be allocated by Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Congressman Poe will appeal to Secretary Jackson to treat Texas equally in the allocation of these grants. Decision on the CDBG funding will likely be announced in the coming month, but subject to HUD.

Congressman Poe has been instrumental in seeing that Southeast Texas is treated equally in the federal hurricane relief efforts. Most recently he sent a letter to the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Speaker of the House supporting the 90-10 funding for the State of Texas in this bill. He hosted HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson and numerous other federal officials, including President George W. Bush, in Jefferson County to view the damage from Hurricane Rita first hand.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Emergency Supplemental Bill in the following days. Upon approval it is sent to the President for his signature.