WASHINGTON — The White House asked Congress on Friday for $44 billion in additional relief for this year’s hurricanes, of which $1.16 billion is for rebuilding military facilities in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and the U.S islands.
The White House request for added disaster relief in response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria asks lawmakers to make spending cuts to offset relief costs approaching $100 billion. The request came in a letter Friday from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Mulvaney recommended $59 billion in offsetting cuts, which in part includes $730 million for Army Corps of Engineers funding and $99 million from the State Department’s Democracy Fund. Those offsets are triggering pushback from some lawmakers.
The aid for the military would come largely in operations and maintenance funds, but some would be military construction funding — and in one case, procurement dollars to replace Puerto Rico Submarine Broadcast Network’s Tower Lighting isolation transformer and AN/FRT-95D solid-state transmitter damaged by Hurricane Maria.
The request comes after President Donald Trump asked Congress in recent weeks for $4 billion, on top of his 2018 defense budget request, to support missile defenses against North Korea, as well as $700 million to repair U.S. Navy ships damaged by mishaps and $1.2 billion for the war in Afghanistan.
The most recent hurricane aid request included the following for the Department of Defense:
- Army: $20.1 million to repair buildings and other structures at Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, damaged by Hurricane Harvey, and facilities at Fort Benning, Georgia, damaged during Hurricane Irma.
- Army Reserve: $12.5 million to fix Hurricane Maria damage at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.
- Army National Guard: $519.3 million to replace Harvey- and Irma-damaged facilities at Camp Santiago, Army Aviation Support Facility San Juan, and Army National Guard Armories Arroyo and Gurabo, Puerto Rico, as well as Estates Bethlehem and Nazareth, U.S. Virgin Islands. Plus, $55.5 million to fix hurricane damage at facilities in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Navy: $267.8 million for repairs at Naval Air Stations Corpus Christie and Kingsville, in Texas; NAS Key West, Florida; Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia; Florida’s Naval Ordnance Test Unit in Cape Canaveral and NAS Jacksonville. The funding would fix facilities in Puerto Rico: Fort Allen, Aguada, Mount Pirata, and Vieques West. Plus, with $201.6 million to rebuild facilities at NAS Air Station Corpus Christi and NAS Key West. There’s an added $9.5 million for NAS Key West, NAS Jacksonville and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia.
- Navy procurement: $25.8 million to replace equipment at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and NAS Key West, including physical security equipment, industrial plant equipment, intrusion-detection systems, electronic security systems, furnishings and building fixtures. The request would also fund the replacement of the Puerto Rico Submarine Broadcast Network’s Tower Lighting isolation transformer and AN/FRT-95D solid-state transmitter damaged by Hurricane Maria.
- Navy Reserve: $2.9 million to fix Irma and Maria damage at naval operational support centers in West Palm Beach, Florida, and San Juan.
- Marine Corps: $17.9 million to fix Irma damage at Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island, Florida, and South Carolina’s Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
- Air Force: $20.9 million to fix hurricane damage at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; and Florida’s Patrick Air Force Base, MacDill Air Force Base, and Avon Park Air Force Range, and South Carolina’s Joint Base Charleston.
- Air Force Reserve: $5.8 million for Irma damage at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida.
- Defense Department-wide: $2.7 million for hurricane damage to DoD schools in Puerto Rico and Texas; $704,000 for repairs at medical clinics at Naval Air Station Key West, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and Fort Buchanan.
Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.