House will try again to pass disaster aid bill derailed by lone congressman

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

/ CBS News

GOP House member holds up disaster aid bill

The Democratic-led House will try again to push through a multi-billion-dollar aid package for disaster-hit communities across the U.S. that was derailed last week by a lone Republican lawmaker.

Since most lawmakers are in their home districts this week, the House will hold a pro forma session Tuesday afternoon during which lawmakers are expected to take another vote on the $19.1 million legislation, a Democratic leadership aide told CBS News. Early last week, the Senate ended months of gridlock over additional recovery funds for Puerto Rico and passed its version of the package.

On Friday, however, Texas Rep. Chip Roy, a member of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, objected to an unanimous consent vote while on the House floor. In addition to expressing concerns about the country's growing deficit, he cited his opposition to both passing legislation without a roll call vote and the fact that the bill lacked billions in border enforcement funding requested by the White House.

If enacted, the disaster package would deliver aid to help Puerto Ricans facing food assistance cuts, farmers in the South still struggling after Hurricane Michael ravaged their crops last year, wildfire victims in California and communities in Midwestern states like Iowa and Missouri recovering from devastating floods.

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First introduced by House Democrats in January, the legislation has stalled for months over initial hesitation by Senate Republicans to approve more hurricane relief funds for Puerto Rico, which President Trump has publicly and privately opposed. Last week, however, the White House departed from that stance and the Senate passed the bill by an overwhelming 85 to 8 vote.

Democratic leaders have faulted the president for what has so far proven to be an elusive agreement on disaster aid, one of the rare bipartisan issues in Congress. Last week, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, urged Republicans to break with the White House and work with Democrats on bipartisan agreements.

"The president — just as he was yesterday — has been an obstructionist force," he told reporters.

Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

First published on May 28, 2019 / 1:33 PM

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