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The White House has requested an additional $44 billion from Congress for disaster recovery

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The White House sent Congress a $44 billion disaster aid request that's already being scrutinized from lawmakers from hurricane-hit regions as way too small.

The request, President Donald Trump's third since hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria slammed the Gulf Coast and Caribbean, would bring the total appropriated for disaster relief this fall close to $100 billion.

That number does not include how much it would cost to rebuild and repair Puerto Rico's devastated housing stock and electric grid.

The new installment would add $24 billion to the government's chief disaster account and establish a new $12 billion grant program for flood risk mitigation projects.

The request followed lobbying by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, who pressed the White House for far more.

"This request does not come close to what local officials say is needed," said New York Rep. Nita Lowey, top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

Even before the measure was delivered, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called it "wholly inadequate." Cornyn worked in September to nearly double Trump's initial request for Harvey aid and has been battling with the White House behind the scenes.

Gov. Rossello has requested $94 billion, including $18 billion to rebuild the island's power grid and $31 billion for housing. The White House anticipates sending another request focused on the needs of the island territory but hasn't indicated when that would be.

"Because Hurricane Maria occurred more recently, damage assessments are ongoing," said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.

Mulvaney also asked lawmakers to consider $59 billion in spending cuts to pay for the aid, including $44 billion from benefit programs by extending automatic cuts known as sequestration over the 2025-2027 budget window.

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Texas and Florida are also sure to be disappointed. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott submitted a $61 billion request to Trump last month for Harvey-related damages, including ambitious requests for flood control and navigation projects. The Florida congressional delegation has asked for $27 billion.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said in a statement that the request "doesn't come close to providing what is needed. People are hurting and they desperately need our help, yet this request has no money to provide housing for evacuees and barely any money for Florida's citrus growers. That's unacceptable."

"Congress needs to pass a more robust disaster bill that actually provides the funding needed to help people recover," Nelson said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress had "proven its commitment to aid those suffering from the natural disasters of the fall." Ryan said the House would "review the request and work with the administration and members from affected states to help the victims get the resources they need to recover and rebuild."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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