Gov. Greg Abbott was in Washington on Tuesday, seeking additional federal funding for Harvey relief and getting an earful from Texas' congressional delegation – a group he called "spineless" a few weeks ago when he felt they weren't working hard enough to bring home the bacon.
"Your comments were not helpful," Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Ennis reportedly told him Tuesday.
Sean Collins Walsh, who has been following the story for the Austin American-Statesman, says Abbott thinks the two disaster relief funding bills Congress has passed so far do not provide enough money for the state. Abbott's comments a few weeks ago irritated some Texas lawmakers, but they did earn the governor another opportunity to plead his case for Harvey funds.
"It would be interesting to find out if the way he has handled it has been an impediment," Collins Walsh says. "I think the initial problem that led him to make those comments was that there were a lot of disasters unfolding at the time of that bill that came after Harvey, and that there were a lot of mouths to feed when it came to disaster funding this year."
He says Abbott is asking Congress for $61 billion for public infrastructure and presented a 300-page report outlining projects that are ready to go.
"It's a slick report," Collins Walsh says. "I think it probably helped him in his meetings yesterday with [House Speaker] Paul Ryan, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the delegation."
Abbott's pitch includes flood mitigation projects, along with major infrastructure requests aimed at fixing what Harvey destroyed. A small portion is related to providing housing assistance to those displaced by the storm.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.