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Senate Democrats boost disaster aid in wake of Hurricane Irene, budget pact
WASHINGTON (AP) ' Senate Democrats are unveiling legislation that provides $6 billion in new disaster aid to help victims of Hurricane Irene and those from disasters dating to Hurricane Katrina.
The legislation could spark a battle with tea party-backed House Republicans, who say Congress should cut federal spending elsewhere to pay for disaster aid.
Democrats counter that the recent budget pact signed into law last month by President Barack Obama allows for federal disaster aid to be provided as emergency spending outside of other budget limits. The White House says $6.7 billion is needed to take care of disaster needs next year.
A Senate Appropriations panel responsible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's budget approved the measure by voice vote.