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Republicans Block Disaster Aid Third Time, For Freedom Flooding
Not to mention the Heritage Not Hate hurricanes.
As expected, a rogue rightwing Republican singlehandedly blocked the $19.1 billion disaster relief bill in the House again yesterday, even though it's pretty much certain to pass overwhelmingly when the full House is back on Monday. This is the third time in less than a week the attempt to pass the bill was stopped by some Tea Party dipshit for the sake of Serious Conservative Principles.
This time around, the objection came from Rep. John Rose, a first-term Republican from Tennessee, who said it was just horrifying what's happening to our once-great Republic, etc. He was simply shocked-shocked that Democrats would try to pass such an important bill through unanimous consent, a parliamentary procedure that allows legislation to go through without a roll call vote, unless a member of the House objects.
So Rose objected, insisting that providing aid to rebuild after a disaster was "another act of irresponsible big government." Oh, he had some extremely principled objections to the whole sordid affair, because government is bad, all in all.
This is absolutely without a doubt wrong [...]
I am very concerned about spending $20 billion that is not paid for and anytime we're expanding the debt of this country in such a way and attempting to do so again through a process that does not allow for the debate of the taxpayers' elected representatives, then that's a concern of mine.
All very moving, except when you remember that the bill had originally been passed way back in January, after full debate and a roll-call vote. The bill was originally aimed at cleanup and rebuilding following last year's hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding. But a new vote is needed on the current bill, because by the time the Senate finally passed its version last week, it had been amended to include additional disaster relief for this spring's flooding in the Midwest, as well as additional aid for rebuilding Puerto Rico. That help for the US territory is largely why the bill took so long to pass in the Senate: Donald Trump just hated the idea of Puerto Rico getting even a dollar more, so he held up disaster relief altogether, for months, before finally giving in. (And then he blamed Democrats, as required by law.)
Even though Donald Trump and Republican House leadership support the disaster bill, the White House hasn't had a peep of criticism for the wingnuts who have blocked the relief bill this week. Kellyanne Conway explained Wednesday the freedom cockups really had to block the bill, because America:
"They object to Speaker Pelosi and the way she runs the House," Conway said, criticizing Pelosi for not having members in session often enough. She reiterated that Trump intends to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
How true this is. Shame on Nancy Pelosi for [checks notes] allowing a Memorial Day recess, which of course is only bad when Republicans don't control the chamber. Remember when Republicans held the House and didn't do a damn thing, ever? Good times, man.
On the plus side, this time out, neither Rose nor any other Republican blocked a temporary extension of the federal flood insurance program, which passed by unanimous consent.
Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-New York), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, pointed out this was some pretty smart timing on Republicans' part, what with the South and Midwest being hit by tornadoes and extreme weather even as Rs block help for the last disasters.
We were sent to Congress to solve problems, not to make them worse [...] Yet House Republicans have again delayed desperately needed relief for American families and communities — even as tornadoes and storms continue to hit the Midwest. It is beyond comprehension that anyone would think 15 minutes of fame is worth making disaster victims, like those in flood-battered Tennessee, wait even longer for the help they need.
Not to worry! The communities being blown to bits by this month's storms can expect speedy help, possibly by the mid-2030s, just as long as Donald Trump doesn't find something to have a tantrum about.
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