The Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost more than $2 billion to repair the damage to the nation's levees, dams and riverbanks caused by this year's excessive flooding.
That sum dwarfs the $150 million the corps has on hand for such repairs and will likely rise because it doesn't account yet for damage caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Ike.
The Senate is considering a $7 billion emergency disaster relief bill that would route $1.3 billion to the corps. And a competing House bill would route $3.7 billion to disaster aid, including $226 million to the corps.
The corps has prioritized repairs that will protect lives once next year's flood season begins. Crews are racing to repair Mississippi River levees while Missouri River levels continue to recede.