Disaster Bill Stalls in Senate

Senators from states that are still recovering from natural disasters met with President Trump at the White House to talk about stalled disaster aid. The House passed a bill that failed to advance in the Senate.

Senate Republicans have introduced a $13 billion aid package, which includes $600 million in additional assistance to Puerto Rico. Democrats want an additional $462 million for the long-term rebuilding of the country. House Democrats introduced a $17.2 billion bill last week that builds on the House version while adding an additional $3 billion to help Midwest flooding victims recover.

The legislation has been bogged down for months over a dispute about U.S. aid to Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria battered the island in 2017 and Congress set aside billions of dollars in assistance. However, some $20 billion in rebuilding aid hasn’t been spent yet, and President Trump has accused Puerto Rico officials of mismanaging the aid.

Another winter storm dumped heavy snow on parts of the Plains and the Midwest last week. At one point, almost 90,000 people were without power in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The additional precipitation and snowmelt could cause another surge in the Missouri River after severe flooding swamped farmlands and grain storage sites last month.