Federal dollars going to communities' devastated by hurricanes

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- After a long night of debate and another, this time just hours long, government shutdown, Congress passed a sweeping two-year bipartisan budget deal investing in the military, infrastructure, and disaster relief. For communities hit by last years' hurricanes the extra cash is essential.

"So desperately needs this money, particularly for all the people that haven't been reimbursed," Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said.

Bill Nelson said the nearly $90 billion in assistance will help his state. That included more than $2 billion for farmers. Citrus-growers alone suffered $700 million in losses from Hurricane Irma.

Florida is still providing shelter to evacuees from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands, Nelson said cash for the areas could help them return home.

"They can't return to an Island that still a third of the folks don't have electricity and as a result there's a loss of jobs a loss in the economy," Nelson added.

$2 billion will go to help Puerto Rico rebuild its power grid and nearly $5 billion will fund government health care for the poor over the next two years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) helped craft the deal.

"This bill represents a significant bipartisan step forward," he said.

Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello tweeted thanks to lawmakers and President Trump Friday morning.

US Virgin Islands Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett said the deal contains $50 billion worth of assistance for her territory, but argues it still falls short of what they need, and what they would get if the same storm hit the US mainland.

President Trump signed the bill Friday morning. No word on when the money will be given out.

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