U.S. House Passes Disaster-Aid Package


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a disaster aid package, Friday afternoon, that will provide aid to areas hit by natural disasters such as flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires and volcanic eruptions. The more than $19 billion aid package passed on a vote of 257-150. 34 Republicans broke ranks and voted for the bill with many of them coming from states affected by the natural disasters including Nebraska, Texas, Georgia and Florida.

The bill, introduced by democrats originally had $17 billion in funding, but an additional $2 billion in amendments were added on. It included two amendments that increase funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program by $300 million and the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program by $500 million. The first bill, passed by the House in January, has languished in the Senate since then. Still at the center of the disagreement has been how much disaster funding to provide for Puerto Rico. It’s not the only matter that has complicated long standing negotiations.

Dow Jones reports the White House had pushed to include $4.5 billion to address the surge of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. During the debate, House Republicans attempted to amend the Democratic legislation to add nearly $3 billion in funding for the border. Neither of the measures were included in the bill that was passed. This is also in addition Republicans making a new disaster-aid offer, on Thursday to the Democrats.

Nebraska’s three Republican and Iowa’s three Democratic and one Republican representatives, which were hard hit by flooding and blizzards, voted in favor of the measure. The Kansas delegation was split. Democrat Sharice Davids voted for the measure while Republican’s Steve Watkins and Ron Estes voted against the measure. Republican Congress Dr. Roger Marshall did not vote.