Lawmakers battle over disaster relief money


Federal lawmakers, once again, fight over the disaster aid bill that has been stuck in Congress for months.         

News13 Washington Correspondent Anna Wiernicki looked at how this battle affects farmers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said America’s heartland is under water.

“Many Americans are still waiting, praying, and working to mitigate the destruction from devastating flooding,” McConnell said.

McConnell also said the $13 billion disaster relief bill is long overdue.

The bill would help states rebuild military bases damaged in recent hurricanes and repair water systems. It even provides help for farmers washed out by this spring’s river flooding.

But, the bill has hit yet another road block. 

New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez said more money should be going to Puerto Rico.

“This legislation should help them get the job done, not set them back,” said Menendez.

3.5 million Americans living on the island are still trying to recover basic services and rebuild after Hurricane Maria two years ago.

Democrats said they won’t support the disaster relief bill unless it includes more money for Puerto Rico, but President Trump said Puerto Rico has enough already.

“They don’t know how to spend the money, and they’re not spending it wisely,” President Trump said.

But, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Puerto Rico is still suffering.

McConnell also said there’s no time to argue about this. Farmers in the Midwest and Southeast need the money now, if there’s going to be a harvest this year.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week.

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