GOP blocks aid to natural disaster victims for second time in a week


A Republican congressman blocked a $19 billion disaster relief bill that could have helped people in his home state of Kentucky.

Victims struggling to recover from a series of devastating natural disasters will continue to wait for much-needed aid, after a House Republican blocked a disaster relief bill for the second time in a week.

On Tuesday, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) objected to passing the $19 billion disaster relief bill that the Senate passed by a vote of 85-8 last Thursday before leaving for the Memorial Day recess.

House Democrats were seeking to pass the non-controversial bill by unanimous consent, but Massie's single objection was enough to thwart that effort and leave disaster victims waiting for their aid until at least June 4, when the House returns from recess.

On Friday, a different House Republican — freshman Rep. Chip Roy — had blocked the same relief package from passing with a similar objection.

It's hard to stress how non-controversial this disaster relief bill truly is.

Trump dropped his objections to the bill — he wanted money for border protection but wanted to cut funding for Puerto Rico's hurricane clean-up — paving the way for the Senate to almost unanimously pass it last week.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made this point to try to convince Massie — a climate change denier who has embarrassed himself for his lack of scientific knowledge — not to block the bill's passage.

"I urge my friends in this body not to object, I urge them to do so because millions of people are at risk," Hoyer said, adding that the bill is critical "for the welfare of our people in this country who have been attacked by natural disasters."

But that didn't stop Massie, whose blocking of the bill could impact residents of his home state of Kentucky, who are eligible for disaster relief aid from the package to clean up from flooding that plague the Bluegrass State this year.

"If the speaker of this House felt that this was must-pass legislation, the speaker of the House should have called a vote on this bill before sending every member of this body on recess for 10 days," Massie said in his objection.

However, the House had already passed an almost identical version of this bill on May 10. The Senate slightly amended it before sending it back to the House last week to approve those small changes.

Leave it to Republicans to create unnecessary drama that hurts struggling Americans.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.