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After Prolonged Delay, House Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Relief Package

June 4, 2019 by Sean Trambley
The U.S. Capitol Building at dusk on January 20, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Edelman/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)

On Tuesday, the House passed a much-needed disaster aid bill that was blocked by three Republican congressmen leading to a two week delay for the $19.1 billion relief package to Puerto Rico, Texas, California, and other states.

Following the bill’s passage in the Senate, the House tried to pass the bicameral, bipartisan bill on unanimous consent. But objections by three Republican Congressmen, Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and John Rose of Tennessee, took turns objecting to the unanimous consent procedure ahead of the two week Memorial Day recess.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said, “The House has now passed the bipartisan disaster relief supplemental after an unnecessary delay caused by some Republican Members who blocked its swift passage for more than a week. This legislation now goes to the President’s desk, and I hope he will sign it swiftly into law so emergency funds can be released to help American communities rebuild from recent disasters.  Those who have endured devastating natural disasters deserve to know that the federal government will not leave them to meet these challenges alone. While I’m disappointed that Republicans prevented this emergency funding from reaching those in need sooner, I am glad that the House was able to come together and pass it today.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said, “After nearly six months of back and forth, I’m glad to finally see Congress pass a much needed disaster relief bill. The appropriated resources will begin to provide necessary aid and relief to the millions of Americans around the country struggling from the devastation caused by natural disasters. However, it’s unfortunate that Democrats dragged their feet for so long and yet still refuse to address the humanitarian and national security crisis taking place along our southern border. Just last week, Border Patrol caught a group of 1,036 immigrants illegally crossing the border. This figure smashed the previous record of 424 immigrants at once, which was set just last month. These are not the types of records America should be breaking – Democrats must acknowledge this crisis and join Republicans in fixing the broken system.”

The bill passed by a margin of 354-58. It will now be sent to President Trump via auto-pen for signature while he is on his trip abroad in the United Kingdom.

Of the 58 Republicans opposing, six Texas Republicans, Chip Roy, Van Taylor, Ron Wright, Lance Gooden, John Ratcliffe, and Michael Cloud, voted against it despite more than $4 billion included for Hurricane Harvey relief.

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