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House Dems seems to end months old deadlock over disaster funds




  House Credit Committee Chairman Nita Lowey

"House Democrats have been aware that we are supporting a major emergency that complements the need for all Americans affected by natural disasters," said a spokesman for housing appropriations committee chairman Nita Lowey. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

With a disaster relief bill locked in the Senate, house democrats are ready to move on with their own package containing billions of dollars in support of the rainy Midwest.

Democrats' revised bill would add $ 2.5 billion to heartland states reeling from catastrophic floods, an overture to Republicans after months of partisan bickering.

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But the new version is unlikely to appear in the Senate because it contains the same controversial pocketbook for Puerto Rico, which has been among the GOP's main criticism of the bill.

"House Democrats have been aware that we support a major emergency that complements the need for all Americans affected by natural disasters," said Evan Hollander, spokesman for House Committee chairman Nita Lowey (DN.Y.), said Sunday .

"If the Senate Republicans fail to make legislation this week, we are ready to introduce a new law book based on our already adopted legislation and expanding aid to the people of the Midwest," Hollander said. [19659009] Sign up here for POLITICO Huddle

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The House's approach resembles a similar proposal by Senate Democrats last week, which would have included more money for Puerto Rico as well as $ 2.5 billion for the Midwest and Alabama, which have been damaged by tornadoes. This effort was rejected by almost all Republicans because they said President Donald Trump would refuse to sign it.

Congress has been fighting since December to approve relief for half a dozen states affected by storms, fires and floods. This is mostly due to the fact that Trump has withstood disaster relief for Puerto Rico, without clearly showing that the island's territory abused the funds it had already received.

Senate GOP leaders have offered $ 600 million to Puerto Rico for nutritional assistance, a sum that Democrats have said is extremely insufficient for the island's needs after it was slammed with two deadly hurricanes in 2017.

Democrats are Stubborn that they are fully funding Puerto Rico's food stamp program, which has gone out of the $ 1.27 billion that Congress had temporarily approved last year.

Senate Republicans have said they support refilling food stamps. However, GOP leaders have objected to what they see as unnecessary house bills – including languages ​​that prohibit money to build or expand immigration prisons or from building border borders.

In the midst of the deadlock, the situation has become serious about half-dozen states, from California to Alabama, who have been waiting months for relief. Some senators, such as Doug Jones of Alabama, have taken to call the president in an attempt to change the president.

Both chambers are under pressure to act before the next two weeks of recess. And recently, Pentagon officials warned Congress that recovery work would be halted if money was not wiped out quickly.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story failed the amount of money the Senate GOP has proposed for Puerto Rico's food aid program.


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