By Jonathan Tilove
President Donald Trump said Monday that he expected Congress to act in a swift, bipartisan manner to approve the necessary funding to help Texas recover and rebuild after the Harvey disaster.
"You are going to see rapid action from Congress," Trump said at a joint White House news conference with Sauli Niinistö, the president of Finland, with whom he had just met.
"You are going to get your funding." said in answer to a question from Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are coming to Texas Tuesday and perhaps, he said, returning again on Saturday.
"Your governor has been absolutely outstanding, the job he has done and his staff," Abbott said. "He is working 24-7. We expect to have his request on our desk very soon and I feel Congress will feel the same way I do."
He predicted Texas will rebound from Harvey "really very, very quickly," again heaping praise on Abbott for how "brilliantly" he has managed the crisis in cooperation with federal officials.
Trump said the storm has been described as, "epic, historic, that what it is, but you will have what you want very quickly."
Trump, who has said he will press for congressional funding of a wall along the Mexican border, said Monday that he hoped that a shutdown can be avoided and that providing Texas with rebuilding money is a separate issue that would not be affected by a shutdown. The president continued to insist that Mexico would ultimately pay for the wall, though perhaps by way of a "reimbursement" that might be an outcome of the renegotiating of NAFTA.
A little while earlier, in another brief appearance with the president of Finland, Trump described the disaster wrought by Hurricane Harvey as "the biggest ever."
"Like Texas if you think about it, " Trump said.
"The people of Texas have really persevered," Trump said.
"I'll be going to Texas tomorrow," Trump said. "I look very much forward to it."
"Things are being handled really well. The spirit is incredible of the people," Trump said. "The coordination between all of the different services has been going really well. Great respect for the governor. He's done an incredible job."
"So I look forward to going there tomorrow," Trump said. "We will be leaving at about 8:30 in the morning. We don't know exactly which sections, we'll be notifying you soon. But we'll be traveling throughout certain parts, and we may actually go back Saturday. Depending on where the storm goes we may also got to Louisiana on Saturday."
(c)2017 Austin American-Statesman, Texas