A struggle for aid to Puerto Rico threatens to track a disaster relief bill that adds a last-minute ball to the long-term relief measure.
The Senate is working its way through a package to provide recovery dollars for a recent storm of hurricanes, storms and fires, but they have not yet reached an agreement on how much assistance there is to Puerto Rico. Lawmakers navigate numerous obstacles that spurt uncertainty about when, whether or how much help Congress and Administration will agree.
Stalemate comes as President Trump Donald John TrumpTrump says wind power does not work because "it only blows sometimes" Fuel standards to prevent excessive dependence on foreign oil are outdated Trump banks MSNBC, CNN locations: & # 39; Fake news never wins! & # 39; MORE has triggered a political storm to criticize Puerto Rico's handling of past disaster funds during a private lunch this week with GOP senators.
"Let me tell you what Puerto Rico doesn't have a sterling record and a lot of states don't, but Puerto Rico doesn't have a good record of dealing with a lot of money … and that's what the president is raising , "President of the Senate Grant Committee Richard Shelby Richard Craig ShelbyControversial Fed Pick Win Support in GOP Senate Puerto Rico fight threatens Senate disaster relief measure This week: Congress set for the next phase of Mueller probe fights MORE (R- Ala.) When asked about the President's comments.
Sen. Lindsey Graham Lindsey Olin GrahamVomen's economic authorization is a national security issue Democrats move on from the Green New Deal Puerto Rico fight threatens the Senate disaster relief MERE (RS.C.) Added that Trump claims that Puerto Rico had received more money compared to states like Texas and Florida, and his point was "how much money can you absorb?"
"We spend the money wisely? I have nothing against helping the people of Puerto Rico. I just want to make sure we don't just throw money into the system," Graham added. "It must pass air test".
Trump has repeatedly criticized Puerto Rico, which was destroyed by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017. Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló called his latest comments from the GOP lunch "irresponsible, regrettable and above all unjustified." 19659002] Trump's remarks also raise red flags among the Democrats, calling for violations of the GOP Disaster Financing Bill and threatening to block it from getting the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster later this week.
A Senate Democratic Assistant said there were three options that would allow the Disaster Relief Bill to get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate in the wake of Trump's comments: GOP proposals to include Democrats priorities Or send a shell bill to give Parliament and Senate the opportunity to kick the problem to a conference committee.
Sen. Dick Durbin Richard (Dick) Joseph DurbinPuerto Rico fight threatens senate disaster relief measure Senate blocks Green New Deal Senate GOP eyes probes in 2016 issues "swept under the rug" MORE (Ill.), No. 2 Senate Democrats said the Puerto Rico provisions were a "rally" on the negotiations on the broad disaster relief bill.
Asked if the Democrats would vote against the law if the support for Puerto Rico was reduced to the House bill, Durbin replied, "many of us will."
Parliament adopted a disaster preparedness bill earlier this year, which the Senate Republicans use as a must for the chamber struggle. They are expected to switch in proposals from Shelby before a final vote. Shelby's $ 13.45 billion disaster relief prevention proposal includes $ 600 million for food stamp in Puerto Rico.
But Democrats claim that this is not the case. Late. Patrick Leahy Patrick Joseph LeahyPuerto Rico fight threatens senate disaster relief measure On money: Trump Fed pick owes K to IRS, public claims | Dems seeking Trump financial info goes back 10 years | GOP pay slips paid parental leave for social security | Pentagon transfers B to wall Ross refuses to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee MORE (Vt.), The Supreme Democrat on the Grant Committee, introduced an amendment to Shelby's disaster relief bill to include a handful of additional provisions including requiring the Department of housing and urban development to free up blockage funding and money to help Puerto Rico repair damaged water systems.
"Unfortunately, it seems that the president will not accept even this reasonable offer. Instead, he will threaten the whole disaster package because he wants to choose winners and losers. He will decide who will be helped in the wake of disasters based on his own arbitrary standard and political anger. This is unacceptable, "Leahy said during a Senate's basic speech.
Republicans bet that disaster financing reconciliation would be politically unpopular enough for them to win enough democrats to transfer the bill.
With a 53-47 majority, if all Republicans supported the disaster relief package, they would still have to win over seven Democrats. By complicating their calculations, 10 Republican senators voted against the bill on an initial procedural hurdle, potentially giving Democrats more leverage as management tries to pass the bill.
Although the Republican bill passes the Senate this week, House Democrats warn they won't accept the Senate GOP proposal and will force a conference committee, a move that would pull out and potentially stop chances of a disaster financing bill making it Trump's desk . The congress is set to leave town for two weeks the Easter recess after April 5.
The House Democrats address a number of differences between the house bill and the Senate GOP measure, claiming that it does not include Medicaid assistance or additional funding for Puerto Rico and other US territories. "
" What we are trying to do is make a bill that we in the Senate could support, which Parliament could support, and that the president would sign so you have a threefold stool here, "shelby said.  pressed for the Democrats not to support its proposal, shelby added: "they want more. So we can see what happens. "