In the age of President Donald Trump’s so-called leadership, even disaster relief funding has become politicized. For months, the House Democratic majority has been seeking to get disaster relief funding approved for areas across the United States from Puerto Rico to California, and this past Friday, after Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) decided to block an updated version of the bill from passing the House via unanimous consent, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly shot down the move as ludicrous and undermining the safety and security of Americans.
‘House Republicans’ last-minute sabotage of an overwhelmingly bipartisan disaster relief bill is an act of staggering political cynicism. Countless American families hit by devastating natural disasters across the country will now be denied the relief they urgently need… Every House Republican needs to answer to the American people why they are standing in the way of urgently needed disaster relief for families struggling to heal and recover.’
Although Roy is the only one who stood out to block the measure from passing — meaning it will have to go to debate at a later time, after Congress returns in June from its Memorial Day recess — he claims to have had support from within the House GOP caucus for his move. He claimed that there was “a significant amount of support among the [House GOP] conference for objecting given that it’s a Friday and this was dropped on our laps and we should have a debate.”
To be clear, the suggestion that the package was surprisingly dropped on the House GOP is false. The Senate has already approved the legislation after months of debate among members of Congress and the Trump administration, and after claiming there was too much money for Puerto Rico and not enough work being done to secure the southern border, even President Donald Trump had agreed to sign the legislation. Still, the House GOP decided to strike out against providing the planned for $19 billion in support for communities struggling with disaster recovery across the United States.
Besides complaining about supposedly “spending money we don’t have,” Roy claimed that as part of the next steps he and his colleagues want, “we should have a debate about why we’re not securing the border” although that is a completely false characterization of the situation. House Democrats have repeatedly and bluntly rebuffed the president’s plans for spending billions of dollars on a southern border wall but have specifically and repeatedly extolled plans to effectively reinforce infrastructure at the southern border through other means.
At present, despite Trump and his allies’ repeated claims of a security crisis, there’s a major humanitarian crisis with more and more asylum seekers arriving at the southern border seeking refuge. The best Trump and figures like Roy have got to respond to the situation is to put up a wall and essentially seem to try and literally push the situation someplace else. Again, their pushes for these steps are coming in the way of providing for actual, tangible issues facing the people of the United States.
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