Yet another conservative House Republican prevented the passage of a disaster aid bill today, leaving areas ravaged by hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters waiting for emergency funding.
Rep. John Rose (R-TN) objected to the third attempt by Democrats in the past week to clear a $19.1 billion package providing funds for disaster-stricken areas by unanimous consent.
The legislation, which provides funding for areas ravaged by recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, was stalled for months in the Senate due to the Trump administration’s resistance to additional money for Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and demands that a $4.5 billion request for funds to address the flow of migrants at the southern border.
President Trump ultimately relented on those demands last week.
The Senate then quickly moved to pass the bill 85-8 last Thursday before adjourning for the holiday recess.
The disaster aid package includes $600 million in nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico, as well as $5 million for a study of the aid received by the island territory in 2017.
The legislation also includes an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program through September.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) first objected to passing the legislation by unanimous consent last week, citing its addition to the deficit and lack of funds for the southern border.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) then objected to the second attempt during Tuesday’s pro forma session, saying that there should be a roll call vote on legislation of that magnitude instead of in a format with only a few lawmakers and staff present.
The disaster aid measure is expected to pass once Democrats put it to a roll call vote on Monday.
Democrats tried to clear the bill during pro forma sessions with few lawmakers present last Friday and on Tuesday, but were met with objections from conservative Republicans who demanded a roll call vote.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, called Roy’s move a “political stunt.”
And on Tuesday, Rep. Austin Scott (Ga.) blasted fellow Republicans blocking the legislation as “clowns.”
“Unfortunately, more clowns showed up today to once again delay disaster relief for the states and farmers devastated by the storms of 2018. This bill will pass the House next week, and President Trump will sign it,” Scott tweeted.
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) also criticized Massie’s move, writing in a tweet that “This is yet another example of politicians putting their own self-interest ahead of the national interest.”
Perdue blasted Rose’s effort today, tweeting, “Obstructing this bipartisan disaster relief package from going to the President’s desk only inflicts additional pain on millions of Americans in desperate need of help.”