Subdued by Harvey, Congress Reconvenes Facing Fiscal Tests

Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, but could bring some fiscal order to Washington where Republicans and Democrats will need to put political differences aside in order to approve spending to repair the damage from flooding in and around Houston.

Lawmakers returning to Washington after a month-long break are expected to swiftly agree to an initial request for nearly $8 billion in disaster aid. More requests will follow from the Trump administration, with the fractious Republicans who control the House of Representatives and the Senate determined to look capable of governing in a crisis.

Some estimates say Harvey could cost U.S. taxpayers almost as much as the total federal aid outlay of more than $110 billion for 2005’s record-setting Hurricane Katrina.

That sobering cost and the urgent needs of Harvey’s victims have helped to calm a fiscal storm that had threatened to engulf Congress and President Donald Trump ahead of Oct. 1.

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