House passes disaster aid package opposed by Trump

(AP Photo/Dennis M. Rivera, File)

The House of Representatives passed a disaster aid package Friday, over the opposition of President Trump. Mr. Trump and some other Republicans bristled at the funding designated for Puerto Rico in the bill, arguing that the territory has already received too much assistance in the aftermath of the catastrophic Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The bill passed 257-150, with 34 Republicans voting with Democrats to support it. These Republicans were a mix of moderates and representatives from states like Texas, Florida and Georgia, which are in need of disaster recovery money. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has a Republican majority.

The Senate is unlikely to pass the House-passed disaster aid bill in its current form. GOP Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy are negotiating on a Senate package, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes to have to the floor by Memorial Day recess at the end of this month.

The bill includes approximately $19 billion in disaster relief funding, as well as $600 million specifically designated for nutrition programs in Puerto Rico.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump made the misleading claim that Puerto Rico had already received $91 billion in federal assistance, adding that “the people of Puerto Rico should really like President Trump.” However, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello told NPR last month the territory has received about $11 billion.

Mr. Trump also tweeted his opposition to the bill Thursday evening, urging Republicans to vote against it.

“House Republicans should not vote for the BAD DEMOCRAT Disaster Supplemental Bill which hurts our States, Farmers & Border Security. Up for vote tomorrow. We want to do much better than this. All sides keep working and send a good BILL for immediate signing!” Mr. Trump wrote.

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