"Dog catches car."

That may be happening in the nation's capitol, and in the Texas capitol, where Republicans control the legislative and executive branches of government.

Or, in the sobering wake of Hurricane Harvey, they may have caught the bus.

Hurricane Harvey, being described as the biggest natural catastrophe in US history, will be a test of how federal and state governments will deal with all the rebuilding and refurbishment, and rethinking of infrastructure planning to reduce damage in future calamities.

All the volunteer efforts to help rescue, evacuate, transport and provide temporary shelter for flood victims – many whose homes were badly damaged or destroyed by Harvey's wind and rain – has been heart-warming and impressive.

And in addition to an impressively large number of efforts by individuals, churches and other organizations, other governments have pitched in.

For instance, Austin's police department sent 51 officers to Houston on a bus, to pair up in patrol cars with Houston officers to ease some of the burden on the city's strapped police department.

Williamson and Travis Counties sent water rescue teams. And so on, from around Texas and the nation.

School officials outside the flood zones invited refugee school-age kids to attend classes at their schools, while the refugees wait weeks or months before they can return home.

But rehabilitating all those homes, plus roads and streets and simply hauling off trash, is going to be an enormous challenge, and require a lot of time, effort, and money.

The Republicans' control of the levers of government in Washington and Austin essentially means that they own Harvey. While Democrats will certainly help, the ultimate responsibility to provide services, rather than just cutting taxes and services willy-nilly, rests with the Republicans.

In the process, they may learn lessons from challenges in several different areas.

Flood Control. Houston's tradition of avoiding zoning is going to come into question like never before.

There will be questions aplenty about rebuilding in flood-prone areas without significant changes, like requiring houses to be elevated, like many buildings along the coast. There will be some areas where rebuilding won't be allowed – or at least shouldn't be.

Flood Insurance, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  There probably will be new consideration of funding and requirements for flood insurance. Estimates are that about three-fourths of the flooded houses didn't have it.

Also, the administration of President Donald Trump may have to re-think its proposed budget cuts to programs for federal preparedness for and response to such disasters, that were added after the slow response to Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans in 2005.

Cuts are proposed for FEMA; the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which helps rebuild hospitals, community centers, homes and parks; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which helps prepare coastal resident for potential disasters; and the National Weather Service (NWS), which helps forecast huge storms.

Emergency Federal Funding. Trump has asked Congress for $7.85 billion as immediate federal aid to begin Harvet recovery efforts. But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called that a "down payment."

Abbott estimated the eventual cost could be between $150 billion and $180 billion – significantly more than the cost of either Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005, or Hurricane Sandy that hit New Jersey and several East Coast states in 2012.

Alternatives to using the Rainy Day Fund.

Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and other lawmakers may have to figure out other funding sources for state spending for things like education, if they want to reserve the fund for actual disasters.

Abbott and Patrick opposed the idea supported by House Speaker John Straus during the recent legislative sessions to take $1.8 billion of the estimated $10 billion fund to add to the education budget to provide more money per student to schools.

Clampdown on Undocumented Workers. Trump reportedly will announce that he will terminate the "Dream Act" – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA – that has allowed deportation of illegal immigrants brought to the US before age 16 to be postponed. Trump, however, will delay enforcement for six months, to allow Congress to act if it so chooses.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions reportedly has convinced Trump that DACA, started under Trump's predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, should come from Congress rather than the White House.

That, plus potential enforcement of laws banning so-called Sanctuary Cities, which contest requirements their law enforcement officials should have to enforce federal immigration laws, could deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers who do construction of buildings and roads, just as the need for them spikes.

Dealing with all the Harvey recovery aspects will test whether when the chips are down, the Republicans in control can drive the bus, or will get run over by it.

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