Disaster Aid Bill Stalled After Republican Blocks House Vote


A lone ranger (pardon the pun) roped in the House's attempt to pass a $19 billion disaster aid bill before the Memorial Day respite.

Texas House Republican Rep. Chip Roy blocked an attempt to pass the $19.1 billion disaster aid bill by unanimous consent, likely stalling passage of the legislation until Congress returns in June.

President Trump had requested the bill include $4.5 billion for the emergency at the border, but it was not included in the legislation. But it only takes one person to object to unanimous consent. "Protecting the House but also noting we are doing nothing file Texas Border & communities".

After passing the Senate, the bill headed Friday to the House of Representatives, where most lawmakers had already left for a holiday recess. They return June 3.

"The people, particularly in Texas, but people generally, are exhausted of the swamp and this is a very swampy thing to do - have a vote on a Friday heading into Memorial Day weekend and after we recess, when we could have done our job yesterday when we had 435 members of Congress who should be here and should vote", Roy told reporters.

The bill, which would include much-needed assistance to states struck by floods, storms and fire, and aid for Puerto Rico, which suffered substantial damage in 2017 from Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in nearly 90 year, will now be held up until early June, when lawmakers return to Washington.

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The surprise development comes after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the legislation Thursday afternoon to help several states and Puerto Rico recover from hurricanes, floods and wildfires - this, after Trump himself backed off from his demand that border security money be added. It would provide over $600 million in nutrition assistance and $304 million in aid for Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Roy's vote "sabotage".

"Countless American families hit by devastating natural disasters across the country will now be denied the relief they urgently need", the California Democrat said.

"Now, after the President and Senate Republicans disrupted and delayed disaster relief for more than four months, House Republicans have made a decision to wage their own sabotage", Pelosi said.

The remaining House members will hold another pro forma session Tuesday, with only a few lawmakers present, to try again to pass the aid package.

Given those objections, Roy, a first-term member of the minority party in the House, said that the entire body should be in town to vote on the measure.