15:56 GMT08 May 2021
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    Following its approval by the US House of Representatives, a $19 billion disaster relief bill is set to be sent to US President Donald Trump for his signature.

    The bill, which passed in the House by a 354-58 vote on Monday, would provide approximately $900 million for Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from 2017's Hurricane Maria. The measure is meant to provide relief funds to areas of the US impacted by recent earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes and wildfires. 

    "When disaster strikes, we shouldn’t let a zip code dictate our response. And Americans across the country have been waiting far too long for the relief and recovery assistance they deserve," House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey asserted before the vote. 

    The measure passed in the Senate with an 85-8 vote last month. Though the legislation lacks the Trump administration's desired $4.5 billion for border wall funding and provides $900 million to Puerto Rico, the president previously agreed to the bill. 

    Trump's opposition to sending more aid to Puerto Rico and his disagreements with their governor have both been public. Recently, the president took to Twitter to falsely claim the federal government allocated $91 billion in relief to Puerto Rico, despite FEMA numbers not matching. 

    "If the bully gets close, I'll punch the bully in the mouth," Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello noted in late March after the president reportedly refused a meeting to discuss recovery. 

    Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) was among those who voted against the bill and took to the floor Monday to slam fellow lawmakers, claiming most legislators have yet to even read the legislation they voted on. 

    Fellow Republican Reps. Thomas Massie (KY) and John Rose (TN) followed suit in an effort to block the bill. 

    “While I'm happy the speaker chose to go back to regular procedure, I am still troubled we're poised to spend $19 billion that is not paid for when we are racking up $100 million an hour in national debt,” Roy said, defending his vote. 

    Congress passing the legislation comes days after the June 1 start of the Atlantic Hurricane season. 


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    Hurricane Maria, disaster relief, hurricane, Hurricane Maria, House of Representatives, Senate, US Congress, FEMA, Donald Trump, Ricardo Rossello, Thomas Massie, US, Puerto Rico
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