Congress passes $19.1 billion disaster aid bill, sends to Trump

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Congress passes $19.1 billion disaster aid bill, sends to Trump


FILE PHOTO: Flood damage is shown in this earial photo in Percival, Iowa, U.S., March 29, 2019. Photo taken March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Polansek/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress on Monday approved legislation providing $19.1 billion in emergency funding for disaster recovery efforts throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico, sending it to President Donald Trump to sign into law.

Final passage came as the House of Representatives voted 354-58 for the measure, which lawmakers and Trump had haggled over for months. It was approved by the Senate late last month, and Trump has said he supports it.

House leaders tried three times in the last ten days to win quick, unanimous approval of the bill while most lawmakers were away on recess. But conservative Republicans blocked these efforts, forcing House leaders to wait until the full chamber returned to work on Monday to pass the bill.

The measure would assist victims of numerous disasters over the last two years, from hurricanes in the Southeast to Midwestern flooding and California wildfires. It has funds to repair highways and other infrastructure, including some military bases, as well as aid to help farmers cover crop losses.

The bill also includes a $605 million nutrition program and $304 million in community development grants to help Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, recover from a devastating 2017 hurricane.

Trump had vehemently opposed sending any more aid to the Caribbean island, but recently relented on this point as well as his demand last month for $4.5 billion to cope with a migrant surge at the southern border. He has said he would seek the border money later.

The legislation also extends a national flood insurance program until Sept. 30.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; editing by Sandra Maler and G Crosse



Reuters: Top News – Congress passes $19.1 billion disaster aid bill, sends to Trump

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