The Latest: Senate passes $19 billion disaster relief bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on disaster relief legislation (all times local):
The Senate has passed a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid bill to help to a number of states and Puerto Rico recover after a series of hurricanes, floods and wildfires.
The widely-backed legislation passed by an 85-8 vote.
Republican leaders agreed to a demand by Democrats to toss out President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion request to address a record influx of Central American migrants who are fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere and coming to the United States.
Trump says he’ll sign the measure and is promising that the U.S-Mexico border money he wants will pass soon.
The disaster relief bill was most eagerly sought by Trump’s GOP allies in states such as Georgia, Florida, Iowa and Nebraska. But the bill was held up for months, first by a battle over aid for Puerto Rico and then by failed negotiations on border aid.
Congress crafted a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid package, but only after Democrats insisted on jettisoning President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion request to handle an unprecedented influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The disaster package more than doubled in size since the House first addressed it last year. It would deliver aid for southern states suffering from last fall’s hurricanes, Midwestern states deluged with springtime floods, and fire-ravaged rural California.
Disaster relief bills are invariably bipartisan, but this round bogged down.
After weeks of fighting, Democrats bested Trump and won further aid to Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory that was slammed by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017.
But talks this week over Trump’s border request broke down.