Rebecca Smith says flooding in Braggs from the Arkansas River is worst in living memory.
The House failed for the third time to approve a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill after another GOP congressman dissented – delaying the passage of the bill until next week.
Rep. John Rose, R-Tenn., became the third Republican lawmaker to object to the bill, which means passage will be delayed until it's taken up in a roll call vote next week. The aid bill was initially stalled last Friday by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, after the House tried to move the measure via unanimous consent, and it was again blocked on Tuesday when Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., objected.
Speaking before the vote on Thursday, Rose said that unanimous consent is “the type of tactic I regard as being swampy,” adding that “the rules also allow me to object.”
“I am standing in a House chamber that is virtually empty,” Rose said on the floor on Thursday. “Trying to pass nearly a $20 billion bill while the majority of the House is out of Washington is just another sign of the bad moves by big government.”
“This is staggering. House Republicans have once again heartlessly sabotaged the passage of an urgently-needed, bipartisan bill to bring relief to millions of families across America devastated by natural disasters,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responded. “Every day that House Republicans obstruct and delay, more American families are left to suffer. This sabotage is unconscionable, dangerous and must stop.”
The bill cleared the Senate 85-8 last week, but the House attempt to move the measure via unanimous consent meant it required everyone present to agree to it. The House session on Thursday was lightly attended, with many lawmakers still away for the Memorial Day recess.
President Trump can’t sign the legislation until both the House and Senate have agreed to it. Trump has indicated he will sign the measure, tweeting last week: "The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!"
The move to punt on the bill is politically risky for Republicans — much of the money is to go to pro-Trump areas in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa and Nebraska. Some will also go to the rebuilding of military facilities. If Republicans are successful in blocking the bill into June, then Democrats will likely accuse the GOP of obstructionism.
Democrats won further aid for Puerto Rico, but talks over money for the border crisis broke down after they demanded that conditions be placed on funding to provide shelter for those seeking asylum.
The Associated Press reported that House liberals demanded a provision to tighten up language that blocks the Department of Homeland Security from getting information from the Department of Health and Human Services to help track illegal immigrants if they care for minors who arrive at the border.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.