U.S. House passes $19 billion disaster bill

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. House passed $19 billion disaster bill, breaking conservative blockade and sending measure to President Trump for expected signature. (MGN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The following information came from the Associated Press:

The House has given final approval to a long-delayed $19.1 billion disaster aid bill. That clears the way for the measure to be sent to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.

The chamber approved the legislation 354-58. It's aimed at helping communities around the country bounce back from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires.

The bill languished for months over disputes including additional aid for Puerto Rico, which Trump opposed. He also wanted $4 billion to deal with migrants at the Southwest border, which will await a future bill.

Passage came as lawmakers returned from a 10-day recess. Three times during the break, conservative Republicans blocked passage under a special procedure Democrats employed that would have allowed approval if no one objected.

The Senate easily approved the measure last month.

“After an unnecessary delay, the House finally passed the disaster relief agreement that passed the Senate nearly two weeks ago,” Senator Marco Rubio said. “Finally, Northwest Florida communities recovering from Hurricane Michael will get the funds they need to recover from this deadly storm. I will continue to work with the administration and Governor DeSantis on the implementation of this disaster relief bill to ensure it serves the needs of the Florida Panhandle.”

Senator Rick Scott said, “I’m glad the House finally passed the disaster relief bill Florida’s Panhandle and Puerto Rico so desperately need to recover following Hurricanes Michael and Maria. It’s long overdue. Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the 5 months I’ve been up here, it’s that Washington is broken. Our communities are hurting, and this process took way too long. Political games were more important than helping Americans, and that’s wrong. But I’m glad it finally got done. Once the President signs this bill, our communities will finally get the resources they need to continue rebuilding their lives and their communities.”

Congressman Dr. Neal Dunn released this statement:
“After almost eight months, Congress has finally done its job and passed a disaster aid bill for the people of North Florida. Never in our nation’s history has it taken so long to do the right thing following a devastating natural disaster. This is a shameful example of putting politics before people and Democratic leadership’s willingness to hold funding hostage over their hatred for President Trump.

“I’m thankful for President Trump’s unwavering support. With his help I successfully secured $1.7 billion in military funding that will be instrumental in jumpstarting Tyndall Air Force Base’s rebuild and restoring military readiness and training operations. We were also able to secure funding for the many farmers, ranchers and timber producers who suffered terrible losses in the storm.

“Over the last seven months I have stood on the House floor, the Capitol steps, in countless hearing rooms, and even on Air Force One demanding that the victims of Hurricane Michael not be forgotten. While many in Washington forgot about the Florida Panhandle, President Trump did not. He made a commitment to North Florida – he promised to help us rebuild. With his ongoing support and this much-needed disaster relief funding, we will continue to rebuild the Panhandle.”

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved. WJHG contributed to this report.