Written by By Staff Writer
Nate Jenkins | CNN
Democrats won an overwhelming victory over Republican President Donald Trump in the 2018 midterm elections, taking back Congress and enacting a number of new rules that will have a lasting impact on US politics.
On November 15, as the US Senate voted to break a two-year Republican lock on the House of Representatives, new members of Congress will begin to put their signature on legislation.
Among the proposals they’ll soon be considering is a 10-year, $1.3 trillion package — known as the Build Back Better bill — that will address the aftermath of the government’s September 2017 hurricanes and restore some basic financial wellbeing to victims.
Here are 10 of the things you didn’t know are in the Democrats’ Build Back Better bill.
1. The bill would affect coastal communities, many of which are still vulnerable to hurricanes.
Following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, Congress, in response to more than $90 billion in spending requests from President Trump, will invest $3.9 billion in grants in 62 coastal communities hit hard by storms that year.
2. $400 million would be used to overhaul the New Orleans interstate highways system.
Congress has allocated $300 million for a piece of legislation that will repave roads in the nine Louisiana parishes affected by Hurricane Katrina more than a decade ago. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the roads include Hwy 59 in Tangipahoa Parish, U.S. 90 in Lafourche Parish, U.S. 42 in Tangipahoa Parish, and U.S. 90 in St. Tammany Parish. Another $100 million will go toward the work in St. Bernard Parish.
3. $100 million would be used to help provide housing for domestic violence victims and their children.
The Democratic package also includes a provision that would allocate funds to allow affected victims of domestic violence to remain with their families while they attend domestic violence counseling sessions. According to the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee, this measure would cost $100 million over 10 years.
4. $5 million would be used to prevent children from experiencing child hunger.
With teachers on strike this week in several parts of the country, Congress is expected to offer $5 million to provide financial support for school breakfast and lunch programs for students in need.
5. $3 million would be used to provide public health services to transgender children who would normally be excluded from the program.
Another $3 million will be used to provide grants to the National LGBT Task Force’s Transgender Youth Health Initiative.
6. $26 million would be used to create an emergency relief fund.
Congress will allocate $26 million to provide additional financial resources to communities affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires.
7. $25 million would be allocated to provide new drought relief funding for California, Arizona and Nevada.
In 2017, a drought in the western US cut into crop production and left communities in the central and southern parts of the US less food-secure than they were in 2015. Congress is proposing to allocate additional funds to help farmers recover.
8. $13 million would be used to strengthen 911 emergency response teams.
To improve the efficiency of emergency response, House Democrats also want to allot $13 million toward training and support for the nation’s 911 centers, which handle the majority of calls made in the US.
9. $10 million would be used to “modernize the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund,” and provide an additional $500 million in emergency aid.
Senator Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas, had previously proposed a Hurricane Harvey recovery bill that would have allocated $20 billion to the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. The bill never gained a floor vote and was never enacted.
10. $500 million would be used to help continue efforts to close New Orleans’ “Dunkirk gate.”
Harvey displaced many people from their homes, but those who stayed behind during Hurricane Katrina have been unable to enter the city of New Orleans. That problem will be addressed under the Democrats’ plan.