The House of Representatives passed a $19 billion disaster bill by a vote of 354-58 on Monday after procedural objections from House conservatives prevented the chamber from passing the measure while Congress was out of town.
The spending measure originally sailed through the Senate by a vote of 85-8 on May 23, but was held up the next day in the House when Republican Reps. Chip Roy (Texas), Thomas Massie (Ky.), and John Rose (Tenn.) objected to passing the bill without a regular vote or structured debate time on the floor while Congress was out of town.
"The people, particularly in Texas, but people generally, are tired of the swamp and this is a very swampy thing to do — have a vote on a Friday heading into Memorial Day weekend and after we recess, when we could have done our job yesterday when we had 435 members of Congress who should be here and should vote," Roy told reporters of his objection.
"Some people think that we're objecting to a vote," but "what we're objecting to is not having a vote at all," Massie explained in an interview with Blaze Media last week.
"I get the criticism that this is disaster relief and this is not the time to have this fight," Massie added later, but "when is the right time to start talking about our debt and our deficit and the broken system we use to pass bills here in Congress? This is the right time. If you do this over a post office renaming, nobody cares."
.@RepThomasMassie & co have gotten criticism for blocking Pelosi's efforts to pass a disaster spending bill during… https://t.co/44052GUscp— Nate Madden (@Nate Madden) 1559310709.0
In addition to disaster relief money, the bill also contains money tucked away for other non-emergency programs, Conservative Partnership Institute's Rachel Bovard explains:
"The bill also contains $55 million for the Head Start program, $1 million for worker training programs, extends the insolvent National Flood Insurance Program without making any reforms for the 11th time, and modifies the federally subsidized crop insurance program to cover the production of industrial hemp. About $900 million is provided for Puerto Rico, even though the territory is already on track to receive up to $91 billion once the 2017 hurricane response cycle is through."
President Donald Trump tweeted his support of the bill just after its Senate passage and is expected to sign it.