$19B disaster aid bill temporarily blocked

Republican congressman singlehandedly blocks $19 billion disaster aid bill backed by Trump

Rep. Chip Roy R-Texas

A House Republican lawmaker blocked a $19.1 billion disaster aid package on Friday, delaying a bill that would send federal funding to disaster affected areas across the country.

Freshman Representative Chip Roy of Texas objected to the House's plan to pass the measure without a recorded vote, a day after nearly all members left Washington for their home districts.

The aid package does not include the more than $4 billion in U.S. -Mexico border funding the Trump administration requested.

The House will return to the bill, perhaps as early as next week.

The relief measure would deliver money to Southern states suffering from last fall's hurricanes, Midwestern states deluged with springtime floods and fire-ravaged rural California, among others.

Congress regularly approves "emergency" disaster aid bills without any cuts to other programs, despite objections from some conservative lawmakers. "Shame on them", the Maryland Democrat said of House Republicans in a statement.

After the bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate by a vote of 85 to 8 on Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted that the bill had his "total approval".

The failure to pass the bill comes as most members have already left Washington for Memorial Day weekend and the president was about to depart for his overseas trip to Japan.

"I didn't want to hold that up any longer", Trump said.

The disaster-aid bill has been pending since previous year, and the slow pace of talks has frustrated lawmakers of both parties, especially as past disaster bills have often been bipartisan and rarely featured the delays or rancor that has accompanied this one. Since then, Trump has claimed, incorrectly, that the US territory had received billions of dollars more in aid than it actually had; some reports suggested the president had attempted to withhold money that had already been allocated to the island. "We'll bring it up again and again until everybody gets back, but hopefully it'll get done next week". And a late-week breakdown on the appropriations panel left important must-do work for lawmakers when Congress returns next month. "I would have voted no because of lack of border security support (which you [and] your colleagues continue to block) [and] because it's not offset".

In both March and April of 2019, illegal border crossings have eclipsed six-figures, doubling the amounts from March and April of 2018.

"Well, we're going to get the immigration money later, according to everybody", Trump said.

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