Republicans Block Disaster Relief Bill Again, Because They Are Dicks
It's a matter of principle, you see.
A couple of House Republicans put in extra hours over the holiday recess to make sure a big disaster aid bill wouldn't pass, because bogging down a bill that's already taken six months to get anywhere is an important conservative principle. The $19 billion aid package was already delayed for months because Donald Trump objected to the amount of rebuilding assistance aimed at Puerto Rico. Once he gave in on that, the aid package finally passed in the Senate last Thursday -- in much the same configuration it passed the House months ago, plus new funds to help with recent flooding in the Midwest.
Ah, but by the time the Senate passed the bill Thursday, the House had already started its weeklong Memorial Day recess, meaning that any attempt to pass the modified bill in the House could be blocked by a single Republican demand for a roll-call vote. So that's what the dipshits did, because Reasons.
Mind you, this is a bill that the Republican leaders in both houses finally say they support, and that Donald Trump says he intends to sign. Once the full House returns to work Monday, it's expected to pass overwhelmingly. But for now, two great Republican Freedom Heroes can hold up disaster help for literally millions of Americans a week longer, because they can. America!
Friday, the star of the moment was Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who insisted it would be wrong for the pro-forma House session to pass the aid bill by a voice vote because it no longer included $4.5 billion to pay for the "emergency" at the border resulting from Trump's decision to jail every possible asylum seeker. Yes, even though Trump and Republican leadership decided to seek that funding later this summer, and agreed to remove it from the Senate version. Democrats opposed the amendment because it included
information sharing provisions that Democrats believed could prevent unaccompanied children from being released from custody to family members.
Ah yes, that fine old "information sharing" that allows the families of people wanting to sponsor unaccompanied minors to be targeted for deportation. How unfair of Democrats to want to make sure that didn't happen. Seems like an excellent reason to delay disaster relief for the hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding that occurred way back in 2018.
Then Tuesday, Dems tried again to pass the bill by unanimous consent, but this time passage was blocked by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), who offered all sorts of important reasons the legislation must not move forward this week instead of next:
If Speaker Pelosi considered this must-pass legislation, why did she send everybody home on recess for 10 days without voting on it? To pass a $19 billion bill like this, without a recorded vote, is legislative malpractice.
Massie also objected to the bill because it doesn't include a plan to pay for the emergency aid -- if you can really call a bill stalled for six months an "emergency" anymore. More of a "we'll get around to helping you someday" bill.
"Everybody wants to be a hero by coming in and writing checks (for disaster aid). Those checks aren't backed up by anything. We're borrowing the money for all of this," Massie said.
Well then! No helping people, that's for sure! Oh, hey, speaking of always paying for things, Massie voted for the 2017 Big Fat Tax Cuts for Rich Fuckwads bill, which added $1.5 trillion to the debt without paying for it. (Roy was only elected to the House last year, so he missed the fun.) Not that "hypocrisy" means anything in our post-factual age.
Not surprisingly, the stunt didn't go over especially well, not even with other Republicans, particularly those whose states want in on the sweet disaster relief funding from Uncle Sugar. Georgia Rep. Austin Scott was shocked, shocked by his colleagues' unseemly obstructionism, because this time it was unauthorized obstructionism:
Unfortunately, more clowns showed up today to once again delay disaster relief for the states and farmers devastate… https: //t.co/HFo0itMyeC
— Rep. Austin Scott (@Rep. Austin Scott) 1559070704.0
Similarly, Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, who months ago was behind the first compromise bill for disaster aid, was annoyed by all the publicity-seeking, because who ever heard of Republicans seeking publicity?
This is yet another example of politicians putting their own self-interest ahead of the national interest. It’s p… https: //t.co/boTcPTTyFO
— David Perdue (@David Perdue) 1559067911.0
Another attempt to pass the bill is expected tomorrow, although it's likely yet another House Republican will find a reason to block it -- possibly because it isn't funding the Space Force or bringing Hillary Clinton to justice. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said after Massie's stunt that he "cannot understand why any member would object to giving relief to so many millions of our citizens who have been badly damaged by natural disasters," but acknowledged it may take until the House reconvenes next week to send the bill to the White House. You have a bunch of dicks who want to dick people over for the sake of being dickish, and that's just how the House works, after all, Hoyer said.
Very frankly, three or four days isn't going to make a difference. What makes a difference is the inability to come to a rationale agreement, which we have done, and not have somebody object simply because they have the power to do so in this context.
So fine, the disaster aid will finally pass next week, and maybe Donald Trump will even sign it this time, unless someone reminds him Puerto Rico is still lurking out there in the ocean, surrounded by very big water.
Yr Wonkette is completely supported by reader donations. Please send us money to keep the lights on, the writers paid, and our own disasters (mostly plumbing-related) paid for.