New Attempt for House Passage of Disaster Bill Possible This Week
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, “We will take action” as early as this week to pass a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that allots $3 billion for agriculture, including compensation for farmers prevented from planting crops due to floods and rain this spring. A Texas Republican thwarted an attempt to pass the bill and send it to the White House on Friday.
“I will be discussing a path forward with members on both sides of the aisle, and we will take action as early as next week when the House meets again during pro forma,” said Hoyer on Friday. The first opportunity to act would be today, when the House is scheduled to meet in a pro forma session, normally a brief housekeeping meeting attended by a handful of representatives.
First-term Representative Chip Roy scuttled action on the disaster bill during a pro forma session on Friday by objecting when Florida Representative Donna Shalala, acting on behalf of Democratic leaders, asked for unanimous consent to pass the bill. The House is in recess until June 4 so a rollcall vote could not be called to overcome Roy’s objection. Roy said the bill should have included $4.4 billion for border security and Congress should cut other federal programs to offset the cost of disaster aid.
“Call me a cynic, but I don’t think it was an accident that this (prevented planting) provision was in a disaster bill,” said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois on social media. When the Trump administration announced its new $16 billion round of Trump tariff payments, officials said no payments would be made to growers who did not plant one of the eligible crops. “But then, bam, a bill appears with mucho funding for PP acres eligible for disaster payments.”