Delegation, governor increase ask for flood aid to $2.8B

Louisiana's congressional delegation and Gov. John Bel Edwards continued a full-court press Monday to secure more federal funding for flood response and recovery, asking President Obama for an additional $800 million and pressing the case for both the March and August floods to be included as one.

USA Today Network of Louisiana obtained both the delegation's letter and Edwards' letter to be sent to the president today.

"With Congress considering appropriation bills to fund the federal government, it is crucial that a Louisiana supplemental disaster funding component be included as part of a funding bill," the delegation's letter says. "To facilitate and expedite consideration of a Louisiana supplemental spending package, we request you to make a supplemental appropriations request to Congress."

Edwards' letter increased his request from $2 billion in community development block grants to $2.8 billion. The governor's letter said he conferred with the Obama administration to reach the new total.

The requests precede a second trip to Washington, D.C., Wednesday, where he will meet with the state's delegation and to continue to lobby for more federal help.

Edwards' spokesman, Richard Carbo, said the governor and delegation met via conference call Sunday night to hash out and coordinate their requests.

The delegation's letter doesn't include a specific dollar request.

Fifth District U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham has also scheduled a meeting this afternoon with White House officials to emphasize the need for the March flood affecting mostly northern Louisiana to be rolled into the August flood disaster affecting mostly southern Louisiana.

Twenty-two of the 24 parishes in Abraham's district were declared disasters either from the March or August floods.

Obama has already agreed to increase the federal match for response and recovery for the August flood from 75 to 90 percent, but he has not yet included the March flood at the maximum federal match.

Return to USA Today Network of Louisiana throughout the day for more updates.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1


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