FEMA: Disaster relief now costing $200 million each day

In this Oct. 5, 2017, file photo, Department of Homeland Security personnel deliver supplies to Santa Ana community residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are pushing to exempt Puerto Rico from a federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between U.S. ports. President Donald Trump temporarily waived the Jones Act last month amid criticism that the once-obscure law hindered relief efforts to in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. The 10-day waiver expired on Sunday night and was not renewed. A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said an extension was not needed to support relief efforts on the island, adding that there’s “an ample supply” of U.S.-flagged vessels to ensure cargo reaches Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says the U.S. is spending more than $200 million each day on the response to three major hurricanes and huge wildfires.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long told a Senate oversight committee Tuesday the challenge presented by hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria is unprecedented in the history of his agency. He also noted costs from the recent wild fires in California, which Long called the worst devastation he has ever seen.

Long thanked the legislators for the $52 billion in emergency relief allocated so far, but said recovering from the recent spate of disasters will be tremendously expensive.

Long said he also needs additional legal authority from Congress to build the power grid in Puerto Rico back better than it was before.

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