The U.S. House finally followed the Senate’s lead and approved the $19.1 billion disaster-relief package late Monday. The measure is designed to help ag producers impacted by natural disasters over the last three years, including those in the Southeast affected by Hurricane Michael this past October. The 354-58 vote came after the House returned from its Memorial Day holiday recess and now heads to the President’s desk.
A majority of House Republicans broke ranks with conservatives, giving Democrats the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill under rules for expedited action. After the Senate approved the disaster-relief bill, the House tried to pass it three times by “unanimous consent,” a move that does not require most members to be present. But Republican lawmakers blocked the bill each time while the House was in recess.
The measure includes $3 billion for farm-related losses of crops, dairy, on-farm stored crops, prevented planting and more, covering storms in the Southeast and Puerto Rico, along with the historic Midwest floods and wildfires in the West.
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 the bill. The President is expected to sign it after he returns from his current trip to London.