The Latest: Puerto Rico impasse blocks disaster aid bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on disaster aid bill in Congress (all times local):
Senate Democrats have successfully blocked a GOP disaster aid bill, saying it doesn’t do enough to help hurricane-torn Puerto Rico.
The move escalates a fight between Democrats and President Donald Trump, who opposes further rebuilding aid to the U.S. island territory, which was slammed by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017.
The $13.5 billion GOP measure would have sped badly needed disaster relief to southern farmers, wildfire-ravaged California towns and Midwestern flood victims. Democrats say more money is needed to help Puerto Rico rebuild its water system and finance additional disaster relief, and they say Trump has acted indifferently toward Puerto Ricans and their struggles.
The move by Democrats sends GOP leaders back to the drawing board but appears unlikely to kill disaster aid efforts outright since there is such sweeping support.
A fight between President Donald Trump and Democrats over hurricane relief for Puerto Rico is imperiling a widely backed disaster aid bill that’s a top priority for some of the president’s Southern GOP allies.
Trump feels antipathy toward Puerto Rico’s government and Senate Republicans are taking a hard line in denying Democratic demands for more aid for the U.S. territory, which was devastated by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017.
Democrats are poised to block the GOP bill in a showdown Senate vote on Monday afternoon. It’s a risky move, but top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York appears confident that a successful filibuster will drive Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell toward compromise.