House Approves Disaster Relief and Puerto Rico Aid Over Trump’s Opposition

WASHINGTON — The House on Friday again approved a huge emergency relief bill for farmers and communities hit by hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters, escalating a standoff with President Trump, who has resisted more aid to Puerto Rico and demanded additional money for immigration enforcement.

Thirty-four House Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in approving the emergency package, which passed 257 to 150 and would send $19.1 billion in relief and recovery assistance across the country and give a quick cash infusion to farmers swamped by floods and caught in the president’s trade war.

The package builds on a measure that was initially passed in January, in the midst of a government shutdown, and rejected by the Senate for not accommodating the floods that recently devastated the Midwest. That flood relief was included in the package passed on Friday, which should intensify pressure on the Senate to reach an agreement with or without the president.

“Disaster-struck communities can’t afford the Republicans’ inaction on this,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said Thursday a news conference. “They haven’t taken up one bill. They haven’t initiated their own bill.”

“Hopefully,” she added, “the combination of our earlier bill and this bill that addresses more recent disasters will be something that they will let us proceed on.”

Senate Republicans on Thursday did offer Democrats some increase in money for Puerto Rico, though it was unclear how much, according to aides familiar with the decision.

“Our states that have been devastated by last year’s disasters are long overdue for relief,” said Doug Andres, a spokesman for Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. “The leader made it clear it’s past time to get this done and we hope Democrats share our sense of urgency.”

But so far, Mr. Trump has not softened his opposition to aid for Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from devastating hurricanes in 2017. Just as he claimed that his trade war has helped farmers, despite plunging commodity prices and a closing Chinese market, the president asserted this week that billions of dollars in relief for farm states would harm farmers.

Panorama Hispano is the regional news and information newspaper for Hispanic and other diverse communities.

US Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in the United States numbering 54.2 million as of July 2014. Serving: Buffalo, Rochester, Fredonia, Niagara Falls, NY and Erie, PA. Outside our Market area: Visit our affiliate at: http://www.impremedia.com/

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