House passes disaster aid, Axne claims credit
The House today passed a $19.1 billion supplemental appropriations bill that would include aid to southern farmers who experienced hurricane damage last year, to midwestern farmers who experienced flooding this year, and to Puerto Rico, which experienced widespread devastation last year.
The action now moves to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said Congress should pass the disaster aid before the Memorial Day recess, but there are still conflicts within the Senate over the package. President Donald Trump has said he wants to limit aid to Puerto Rico.
The vote was 257 to 150, with all 223 Democrats and 34 Republicans voting for the bill. A total of 150 Republicans voted against it and 13 Republicans and 11 Democrats did not vote.
Freshman Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said in a news release today that the House had approved two amendments she sponsored.
The amendments would increase funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program by $300 million and the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program by $500 million.
Axne debated her amendments on the House floor today as Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, presided.
“From my firsthand experience in these flooded areas, I can attest to the serious damage and hazards that these communities face,” Axne said.
“This federal aid is vital to rebuilding Iowa communities. My amendments will increase funding for programs that will help with debris removal, fix our damaged roads and repair breached levees. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to immediately pass this bill.”
–The Hagstrom Report
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Western legislators led by Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday, urging USDA to provide additional relief to farmers and ranchers impacted by historic drought.