North Carolina’s Hurricane Matthew recovery effort is set to get big boost from Congress

An estimated $300 million in federal post-Hurricane Matthew assistance money could be immediately made available to North Carolina if Congress passes a budget resolution proposed Tuesday.

The move would keep the federal government running through the end of April and provide Hurricane Matthew recovery assistance, as well as increased military spending and money allocated to help Flint, Mich., upgrade utilities infrastructure that caused increased levels of lead in drinking water there.

The federal legislation is known as a “stopgap” budget measure, designed to avoid a government shutdown and give President-elect Donald Trump enough time to take office and begin spending negotiations with Republicans in control of both the U.S. House and Senate.

It’s expected the House will vote on the “continuing resolution” funding bill on Thursday. The Senate will likely vote on the legislation Friday.

North Carolina U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-Huntersville, said Tuesday the continuing resolution is key for North Carolinians whose homes, farms and businesses were devastated by major flooding caused by the October hurricane.

“I’m happy that appropriators listened to the concerns expressed by Governor (Pat) McCrory, myself and members of the North Carolina delegation by providing the state with immediate funds to help start the recovery following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. It’s important to stress that this is only the beginning of the long recovery process,” Tillis said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already been approving flood-related insurance payments, grants and loans for Hurricane Matthew victims in North Carolina.

More federal recovery assistance for the state could be made available through the budget to set aside U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal highway funds. Community Development Block Grants for disaster recovery may also be approved for eastern North Carolina to pay for housing and infrastructure needs. The USDA assistance would be available for farmers.

Tillis’ office said this week federal funding is also needed to repair U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properties in the state.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews