WASHINGTON — For the second time in less than a week, the House on Monday failed to pass the Senate-passed $19 billion bill providing disaster aid funding to parts of the United States hit by hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and wildfires after a Republican lawmaker objected.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., objected to a request Monday to pass the measure by unanimous consent during a pro forma session. If the bill had passed, it would have gone straight to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature. Most lawmakers are back home in their districts this week for a weeklong Memorial Day recess.
On Friday, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, objected during a similar vote, saying the bill didn't address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and that it was not paid for.
"Our nation is strong enough, and compassionate enough, to have a responsive and fiscally responsive approach to help people who are hurting in the wake of natural disasters," he said.
The Senate passed the bill last Thursday in a 85-8 vote after a deal was struck among negotiators. Trump signed off on the parameters of the agreement Thursday afternoon, which excludes $4.5 billion in border funding that the White House and the Republicans kept demanding.
The bill would provide about $900 million to Puerto Rico, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017. That money would go toward nutrition assistance and a community development block grant, both of which were key Democratic priorities.
Funding for Puerto Rico had long been a sticking point in negotiations because Trump was opposed to giving the territory more aid. In April, he falsely claimed on Twitter that "Puerto Rico got 91 billion dollars for the hurricane" when the federal government had only allocated $40 billion for the island's recovery and most of it hasn't yet arrived.