Advertisement

Congress on cusp of delivering long-overdue disaster aid

A Wendy's store in Percival, Iowa, is reflected in floodwaters from the Missouri River, Friday, May 10, 2019. The House on Friday passed a $19 billion disaster aid bill that would deliver long-sought relief to farmers, victims of hurricanes and floods, and rebuild southern military bases, as Democrats try to dislodge the legislation from a Senate logjam over aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico. Photo: (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
A Wendy's store in Percival, Iowa, is reflected in floodwaters from the Missouri River, Friday, May 10, 2019. The House on Friday passed a $19 billion disaster aid bill that would deliver long-sought relief to farmers, victims of hurricanes and floods, and rebuild southern military bases, as Democrats try to dislodge the legislation from a Senate logjam over aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico.

May 23, 2019 01:55 PM

Congress is rushing to wrap up a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid package, but only after Democrats insisted on jettisoning President Donald Trump's $4.5 billion request to handle an unprecedented influx of migrants at the southern border.

The disaster package — which has more than doubled in size since the House first addressed it last year — would deliver aid for southern states suffering from last fall's hurricanes, Midwestern states deluged with springtime floods, and fire-ravaged rural California.

Advertisement

The Senate is set to vote Thursday afternoon. House lawmakers have already left for the Memorial Day recess but the chamber could attempt to pass the bill by voice vote on Friday, said a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Several Senate Republicans said Trump has agreed to sign the bill even though funding to deal with the border crisis has been stripped out. Most of the funding would go to Trump strongholds like the Florida Panhandle, rural Georgia and North Carolina, and Iowa and Nebraska. Several military facilities would receive rebuilding funds, including Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Such measures are invariably bipartisan, but this round has bogged down. After weeks of fighting, Democrats bested Trump and won further aid to Puerto Rico, slammed by back to back hurricanes in 2017. Trump has feuded with the island's Democratic officials and has repeatedly misstated that Puerto Rico has received much more aid than it has.

But talks this week over Trump's border request broke down over conditions Democrats wanted to place on funding to provide care and shelter for asylum-seeking Central American migrants arriving in record numbers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Thursday's bill is most desperately sought by southern Republicans such as David Perdue of Georgia, seeking to deliver aid to farmers that lost billions of dollars when Hurricane Michael hit last fall during harvest season. Midwestern Republicans such as Joni Ernst of Iowa also pressed for the legislation.

Democrats filibustered the measure last month over Trump's refusal to sign off on funding to speed further disaster aid to Puerto Rico. But political pressure built and Trump agreed to sign the measure after a phone call with Perdue and Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

"The president said, 'OK,'" Shelby said.

Connect with KSTP


Join the conversation on our social media platforms. Share your comments on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Advertisement

Northern Lights Lacrosse Festival kicked off in memory of Archer Amorosi

Bernie Sanders campaigns at Minnesota State Fair

Man wanted for murdering his parents in Todd County arrested in Mexico

Another attendance record set at State Fair for day 2, breaking 2016 record

More pleasant weather expected for the state fair Sunday

Advertisement