(Adds details, separate White House request to agencies on long-term needs)
WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Wednesday asked U.S. lawmakers to approve $29 billion in disaster relief funds to assist victims of recent hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
The aid request includes $12.8 billion in new funds to help storm victims and $16 billion to defray debt in the federal government's flood insurance program. The White House said the program would reach the limit of its borrowing authority late this month. The administration also wants another $576.5 million to pay for fighting wildfires in the western United States.
Separately, the White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, asked federal agencies in a memorandum Wednesday to estimate by Oct. 25 how much additional funding they will need for "long-term disaster recovery." He said agencies should only identify costs related directly to recent storms to "support recovery and rebuilding from these recent hurricanes."
The White House said the disaster funding will ensure it has enough funds to provide support through Dec. 31 and earlier this week had about $10 billion on hand. The White House told Congress it is committing $200 million a day for recovery efforts.
The White House said it forecasts the National Flood Insurance Program, which insures about 5 million homes and businesses, will have hurricane losses of about $16 billion and proposed cancelling $16 billion in debt for the program. The administration proposed a series of reforms to the program, including phasing out issuing policies for newly constructed homes and for commercial customers after 2021.
The administration also wants to establish means testing to ensure the insurance remains affordable for low-income policyholders and to discontinue coverage for homes that are hit by repeated storms. (Reporting by Richard Cowan and David Shepardson; editing by Diane Craft and Jonathan Oatis)