A key hurdle cleared in the Senate was cleared after the voting for the House-passed bill aimed at helping communities impacted by the recent natural disasters.
The final voting will be on Tuesday, but for now the score is 79-16 to advance on the bill. The votes against came from GOP senators, including Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky).
This House bill is going to provide $36.5 billion to fund a flood insurance program, hurricane relief and wildfire recovery efforts in the West. To be more precise, $18.7 billion are going for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund, $16 billion on the national insurance program debt and $576.5 million on wildfire recovery efforts. Also $1.27 billion will be provided for food assistance for Puerto Rico.
Sen. Bill Nelson tried to add more money to help with the recovery efforts for hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria. Unfortunately his efforts were blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I hope he knows the Senate remains committed to doing its part to support the ongoing hurricane relief efforts. We all see this as a multistage process. … There will be additional rounds, and we are all fully committed to meeting the needs that have arisen as a result of these devastating hurricanes.”
The Senators talked about adding more financial help to the bill, but for now it appears that they are going to pass the legislation as is. Additionally to the change from Nelson, Paul started pushing to get the $36.5 billion in spending paid for.
But the senator’s effort faced an uphill. The Senators rejected similar requests from him during the first round of disaster relief funding.