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House passes $36.5B disaster aid bill for hurricane-hit states, Puerto Rico

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 file photo, destroyed communities are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. The House is on track to backing President Donald Trump's request for billions more in disaster aid, $16 billion to pay flood insurance claims and emergency funding to help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico stay afloat. The hurricane aid package Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, totals $36.5 billion and sticks close to a White House request, ignoring - for now - huge demands from the powerful Florida and Texas delegations, who together pressed for some $40 billion more. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The House has passed a $36.5 billion measure that would replenish government disaster aid funds and help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico keep functioning in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The bipartisan 353-69 vote sent the measure to the Senate, which plans to take up the bill next week.

The bill combines $18.7 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief with $16 billion to permit the financially troubled federal flood insurance program pay an influx of Harvey-related claims.

An additional $577 million would pay for western firefighting efforts.

Almost $5 billion of the funding could be used to help the government of Puerto Rico and its local jurisdictions stay functional as they endure unsustainable cash shortfalls in the aftermath of Maria.

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