Louisiana will be able to tap into a $6.5 billion block grant designed to help communities recover from disasters if the Senate passes a massive spending bill approved Wednesday by the House, The Times-Picayune reported early this morning. The entire package would provide $22.9 billion for disaster assistance.

The spending plan is expected to give governors in disaster-stricken states, including Louisiana, flexibility in how to allocate their shares of the special $6.5 billion community development block grant. Money from that fund can pay for temporary housing, repairing and replacing damaged homes and public infrastructure, and for economic development.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called the budget resolution a "positive first step toward the total amount of assistance our state needs to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, while we are still rebuilding from hurricanes Katrina and Rita."

"Of course, our needs are far more comprehensive than what is included in the package," Jindal said.

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