UPDATE: LONE CONGRESSMAN CHIP ROY (R-TX 21ST) BLOCKS VOICE VOTE TO PASS DISASTER BILL IN THE HOUSE. THE BILL WAS ASSURED SIGNAGE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP. CONGRESSMAN ROY WANTED TO SEE BORDER WALL FUNDING IN DISASTER PACKAGE.
The long wait is finally over, the Senate passed a bi-partisan disaster funding bill on Thursday with an 85-8 vote. The House is expected to pass this version on Friday, and President Trump has indicated he will sign the bill even though it has no funding for border security which he had sought.
Audio: Agribusiness Matters Report.
The disaster bill includes relief funding for Iowa and Nebraska to start to recover from devastating floods. It also approves funding for the southeast states which were ravaged by Hurricane Michael. California is set to receive wildfire assistance as well. Puerto Rico, a hot-button issue in this debate, is also set to receive more funding to help rebuild from hurricane Maria.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst responded to the bill’s passage by saying, “This spring has brought devastation and difficult times for so many Iowans across our state. Our families, farmers, and small business owners have waited a long time for Congress to get its act together. But, at long last, Republicans and Democrats came together on a bipartisan disaster relief package that will deliver desperately needed aid to folks across the country. I’m extremely pleased this bipartisan disaster aid package includes a provision to extend aid for Iowans who are facing losses from the destruction of their stored grain in the floods. As Iowans continue down the road to recovery, I stand ready to work across the aisle in providing help and assistance to those in need.”
The bill has received bipartisan support in the Senate. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was quoted as saying, “Let’s just get this done. We got what we wanted for Puerto Rico”.
The President had long criticized additional funding for Puerto Rico, but after speaking with lawmakers from states who desperately needed the disaster relief package, he softened his stance. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) were key in getting the President to give his blessing to the agreement.
The President tweeted his support out last night.