GOP Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz pressed President Trump in a letter on Friday to grant Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) request for a major disaster declaration for the state as Hurricane Harvey barrels toward it.
“Given the potential catastrophic impact that the Hurricane may have on Texas communities, we strongly support this request and urge you to provide any and all emergency protective measures available by a major disaster declaration,” the senators said.
Harvey is expected to be the first Category 3 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005 and the first to hit Texas since 1999.
The pair voted against a disaster relief package after Hurricane Sandy slammed the U.S. in 2013, causing severe damage to the region.
Cruz said at the time he voted against the package because it was filled with spending that was unrelated to storm relief.
“Emergency relief for the families who are suffering from this natural disaster should not be used as a Christmas tree for billions in unrelated spending, including projects such as Smithsonian repairs, upgrades to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplanes, and more funding for Head Start,” he said.
Cruz was supportive of federal funding for floods that plagued Texas in 2015, which left 15 people dead.
Trump said he has been in touch with Abbott, as well as Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, saying in a tweet on Friday he is ready to provide federal assistance “as needed.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2017
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said Friday the sustained winds and heavy rain Harvey brings will make for “a very dangerous situation” in southeastern Texas.
“Let’s set the expectations. Texas is about to have a very significant disaster, and we have to let people know that,” Long said.