UPDATED: 3:52 P.M.
(Washington) — A bipartisan appropriations bill helping disaster victims in Iowa and elsewhere has hit another roadblock.
By an 85-to-8 vote, the U.S. Senate Thursday approved a $19.1 billion bipartisan relief package, which includes funding to help residents impacted by the disastrous flooding along the Missouri River and Davenport this spring, as well as farmers who lost stored grain from the flooding. Also included is funding to help victims of last fall’s wildfires in California, as well as hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. In a conference call with reporters, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says assistance is needed to address the flooding’s economic impact.
“What we have to recognize is that there is an economic impact,” said Ernst, “not just an impact to those families and their homes, but also to those businesses that did employ people, and maybe those people haven’t been able to work now for a while.”
Ernst says she’s educated her colleagues on the flooding devastation in Iowa.
“They have seen a lot of this on the news,” she said, “and that’s very, very good. I continue to talk about it. So, they understand the significance of moving forward, and why we need to provide the funding.”
The Red Oak Republican adds it’s also important to continue to support victims of 2018 disasters.
“It is fresh in our minds,” said Ernst. “What we might have to do is go back and look at the disasters that happened in 2018. Some of those folks have long been forgotten. While the floods are fresh in everybody’s minds, we need to remember that there’s still folks in communities that haven’t received that type of assistance yet.”
Efforts to pass the bill in the U.S. House hit a snag Friday when it failed to receive unanimous consent. Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas cast the lone dissenting vote, meaning it could not be reconsidered until after the end of the Memorial Day recess June 3rd. President Trump has indicated he will sign the bill, though provisions for border wall funding were removed.