WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday failed again to pass a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill supported by President Donald Trump after a Republican lawmaker objected to the measure.
Following Senate passage of the legislation last Thursday by a vote of 85-8, House Democratic leaders had hoped to win quick, unanimous approval of the bill on a voice vote and send it to Trump for his expected signature.
But with most lawmakers out of town for a recess until June 4, individual House Republicans have been able to block passage twice – once last Friday and again on Tuesday – by demanding an official roll call vote. Such action would have to wait until the full House returns to work next week.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats will try again to pass the bill on a voice vote Thursday. If that does not work, Hoyer predicted the measure will pass “overwhelmingly” when the House returns next week. A national flood insurance program, which the legislation would extend, expires this Friday, Hoyer said.
For months, lawmakers have been haggling over the disaster aid bill in response to hurricanes in the southeastern United States, severe flooding in the Midwest, devastating wildfires in California and other events.
The $19.1 billion in the bill is intended to help farmers cover their crop losses and rebuild infrastructure hit by disasters, including repairs to U.S. military bases.
On Tuesday Republican Representative Thomas Massie objected to passage, saying there should be a roll-call vote on a bill of such magnitude.
Massie, a Republican and Trump supporter, also told reporters he opposed the bill because there was no plan to pay for the disaster relief. He said he had not coordinated his objections with House Republican leaders or the White House.