Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, but it could bring some fiscal order to Washington where Republicans and Democrats will need to put political differences aside in order to approve spending to repair the damage from flooding in and around Houston.
Lawmakers returning to Washington after a month-long break are expected to swiftly agree to an initial request for nearly $8 billion in disaster aid, with the House of Representatives considering assistance on Wednesday.
More requests will follow from the Trump administration, with the fractious Republicans who control the House and the Senate determined to look capable of governing in a crisis.
Some estimates say Harvey could cost U.S. taxpayers almost as much as the total federal aid outlay of more than $110 billion for 2005's record-setting Hurricane Katrina.
That sobering cost and the urgent needs of Harvey's victims have helped to calm a fiscal storm that had threatened to engulf Congress and President Donald Trump ahead of Oct. 1. The rancor revolves around the deadline for lawmakers to approve a temporary spending measure to keep the government from shutting down, as well as the need to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
"There's reason to hope that in the wake of the tragedy in Texas ... there will be a renewed sense of community and common purpose that can help get things done," said Michael Steel, a Republican strategist who once worked as a spokesman for former House Speaker John Boehner.
Before Harvey, Trump had threatened to veto such spending and trigger a shutdown if Congress refused to fund his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. He has dropped his threat, the Washington Post reported on Friday, making a shutdown less likely.
As of the Labor Day holiday weekend, approval by Congress was widely anticipated in late September of a stopgap bill, or continuing resolution, to continue current spending levels for two to three more months.
The need to help Hurricane Harvey victims "creates another reason as to why you'd want to keep the government open," Republican Senator Roy Blunt said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.