Victims of Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters will have to wait into next month for Congress to give final approval to a $19.1 billion relief bill, as final passage of the plan in the House was blocked on Friday by a lone Republican lawmaker, forcing a delay until Congress returns for legislative business in the first week of June.
“I respectfully object,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), one of several more conservative Republicans who stayed in town after the House had completed its legislative business on Thursday, and came to the floor Friday morning to object to acting on the plan without a full roll call vote.
The House had approved $19.1 billion in disaster aid in early May; the Senate on Thursday amended the plan with the backing of President Trump – but it wasn’t good enough to get unanimous consent for approval in the House.
“If I do not object, Congress will have passed into law a bill that spends $19 billion of taxpayer money without members of Congress being present here in our nation’s capital,” Roy said on the House floor, forcing a further delay on the disaster aid measure.
.@Repchiproy objects to unanimous consent request for House to approve Senate-passed $19.1 disaster relief bill w/o roll call vote. "If I do not object Congress will have passed into law a bill that spends $19 billion of taxpayer money without Members of Congress being present…" pic.twitter.com/zcGzOzQMsE— CSPAN (@cspan) May 24, 2019
Democrats were furious.
“This is a rotten thing to do,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who noted to reporters that Roy was blocking aid for his own home state of Texas.
“We should have passed this months ago,” said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), who asked for approval of the measure on the House floor.
“There are people who are really hurting, and he’s objecting,” Shalala said. “He’s holding hostage thousands of people.”
Unless Republicans relent next week, the House would not be able to set up a vote on the disaster aid measure until the week of June 3.
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