The Trump administration will withhold more than $1 billion in federal disaster aid to states that were hit by Hurricane Matthew, according to a draft of a $5.9bn disaster aid package obtained by Al Jazeera and other media outlets.
The money will come from the Disaster Relief Fund, a joint federal-state program that has been used by the Trump administration since at least 2017.
The move is a setback for states and their representatives, who have said they were eager to secure funding for their states, which were hit with the brunt of the storm and remain without power, gas and other services.
But the White House is moving ahead with the package despite mounting opposition from several Republican senators and a number of Democrats, who argue that the administration should have left some of the funds available to states for disaster relief.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the head of the Senate’s disaster relief committee, Bob Corker, said the administration was moving forward with a proposal that “doesn’t have to be the case”.
The bill is expected to be voted on next week by the Senate Finance Committee.
The funding will go to states such as Texas and New Mexico, which received the bulk of the aid in New York and California.
The White House has repeatedly said that the relief funds are a necessary part of a multi-state response to the hurricane.
The administration also said it would waive the tax-exempt status of certain tax-credit programs that help low-income residents, as well as grant some waivers to businesses.
“I would not want to see any of the tax credits revoked or cut off,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
“But we’re not going to go through the whole process of having them go away.
That’s why we are not going through a complete disaster relief package, and I think it’s a mistake to take that away from people.”
The White Senate office said in a statement that the draft bill was the product of a “long, thoughtful process” and that the White Houses budget office was reviewing it.
It added: “The draft bill has not yet been sent to the Whitehouse’s Office of Management and Budget.
We look forward to reviewing the draft legislation and the input from the President and his administration.”
A similar measure that was first introduced by President Donald Trump in February would have exempted certain tax credits for low- and middle-income Americans.
The draft bill would have waived the tax on “individual income tax credits” for individuals and married couples making $150,000 or less, and “the estate tax exemption for estates over $5 million”.
“We will also waive the ‘income-based’ exclusion for families with children, and will continue to provide the families of American veterans with relief under the Military Readiness Assistance Program,” the draft proposal reads.
The legislation was defeated by Republican lawmakers.
The Trump Administration is also expected to make the tax break exemption for states’ unemployment benefits permanent.
The US is currently suffering from an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent, according the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A similar tax break for certain health insurance programs has also been ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court.