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Doyle wants to make sure Wisconsin gets share of federal disaster aid

Gov. Jim Doyle wants to make sure Wisconsin gets its share of the new federal flood aid.

President Bush okayed an extra $2.7 billion in flood relief Monday, when he signed the bill which provides money for the war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into 2009.

The new flood money will not go to the states, but to six federal agencies.

FEMA will get the most, around $900 million.

Doyle spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner says his office is talking with the federal agencies about Wisconsin's various needs in the wake of the June floods in the southern part of the state.

Twenty-nine counties were declared federal disaster areas.

The new bill gives the Army Corps of Engineers another $600 million-plus for water projects, especially flood control.

And the United States Department of Agriculture will get almost a half-billion for watershed protection and emergency conservation efforts.

The Iraq funding bill also doubles federal college benefits for veterans under the GI Bill.

Wisconsin already has its own program that gives free college tuition to returning veterans and the new federal money will make the state funding stretch further.

Also, Bush approved an extra 13 weeks of benefits for the long-term unemployed, more food aid, new drug enforcement funds and other items.