The House of Representatives passed a $19.1 billion disaster relief package on Friday to allocate federal funding to Puerto Rico, California, and large swathes of the Midwest and the Southeast, all of which have been torn apart by fires, floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes over the past two years. Despite all that, Donald Trump strongly opposed the bill.
Even though the president callously argued that actually, Congress shouldn’t do anything about the natural disasters that have ravaged millions of Americans, the House passed the bill by a 257-150 vote. Most significantly, 34 Republicans crossed the aisle and voted for the bill, likely in no small part due to the fact that many of them represent areas with now-underwater military bases:
The president still found a way to spin this turn of events in his favor, going out of his way to highlight the “Farmers” the money will help, rather than the people of Puerto Rico, whom the administration has left literally starving for relief funding.
As CNN notes, the relief bill has been particularly slow-moving because most of Congress figures it’s one of the only things that’s going to pass this year (emphasis mine):
Beyond the dispute over Puerto Rico, there are other complicating factors as well.
Lawmakers, aware that Congress won’t be passing much major legislation this year, view the measure as a rare chance to include policy riders and get pet projects passed, which has complicated negotiations and slowed talks.
While all this politics is happening, the people actually affected by the disasters continue to suffer. Here’s hoping those “pet projects” work out, though!