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Congress announces deal on disaster bill; no border money for Trump

Stephen Dinan The Washington TimesMay 23, 2019

Top negotiators agreed to a disaster aid package Thursday but left out billions of dollars President Trump had asked to deal with the border crisis.

The measure includes $19.1 billion in assistance for Puerto Rico and states struck by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and other disasters over the last two years.

Of that money, nearly $1 billion is earmarked specifically for Puerto Rico a key priority of Democrats, and a major sticking point for Mr. Trump.

The bill does not include the $4.5 billion the president had asked for to help ease the humanitarian crisis at the border, where authorities say illegal immigrants are pouring in so fast that they cannot even be processed for release, much less held for deportation.

Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican, said Mr. Trump gave the OK to the deal. That apparently allowed it to move forward without his priorities.

“I want to thank President Trump for breaking the gridlock and getting this disaster relief to Americans who so desperately need it,” Mr. Shelby said. “We have been working on this package for several months, and I am pleased to say that help is finally on the way.”

A vote was expected in the Senate Thursday afternoon.

But final action will have to wait until June.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent her troops home for a 10-day Memorial Day vacation.

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