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U.S. House Does Not Pass Disaster-Relief Package

Dan Economy, Legislative

disaster
Courtesy UF/IFAS

It was over 7½ months ago that the Category 5 Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle before moving through parts of Alabama and Georgia. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate finally passed a $19.1 billion disaster relief package in an 85-8 vote, which would provide disaster-aid funding to various parts of the U.S. not only because of hurricanes, but also flooding, earthquakes and wildfires. So all eyes were on the U.S. House to do the same this morning before leaving for the Memorial Day holiday break.

But it did not happen.

In the Senate, the deal came together after Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator David Perdue of Georgia, secured a commitment from President Trump to support their bill. So it did pass, despite the added assistance for Puerto Rico and without the administration’s request for money to help feed and care for migrants detained at the southwestern border. But, the latter ended up being the issue as to why it didn’t pass in the House.

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The House attempted to pass the bill during a pro forma session by unanimous consent, but Rep. Chip Roy of Texas objected, noting the bill didn’t address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and that it was not paid for.

So at this point it is unclear what will happen next. Some are saying the House could try to pass it again during another pro forma session next week, or they may have to wait until the chamber returns in June after the holiday break.

According to the U.S. House website, the next meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on May 28.

Update: May 28

According to information provided House.gov, the U.S. House did convene at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday (05/28). The Speaker had designated the Honorable Jennifer Wexton to act as Speaker pro tempore for the day. The House received a message from the Deputy Clerk noting the Senate passed S. 1693 and agreed to S. Con. Res. 3.

Mr. Bishop (GA) asked unanimous consent to take from the Speaker’s table the bill, H.R. 2157, and agree to the Senate amendment. Mr. Massie objected to the consideration of the Senate amendment. Mr. Bishop then asked unanimous consent to take from the Speaker’s table and pass the bill, S. 1693. Mr. Massie objected to the consideration of the Senate bill.

The Speaker then announced that the House would adjourn, and set the next meeting for 4:30 p.m. on May 30, 2019.

About the Author
Randall Weiseman

Randall Weiseman

News Director and Affiliate Relations