Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) blocked a Democratic-led disaster relief bill on Tuesday, making it the second time a Republican has stopped the legislation in its tracks. The Senate passed the $19.1 billion disaster relief bill last Thursday by 85-8. It includes $900 million for Puerto Rico, devastated by Hurricane Maria last year, and states that have been hammered by tornadoes, flooding, wildfires, and other natural disasters. The White House wanted it to include border wall funding, but, after getting nowhere with Democrats on that front, Trump said he'd no longer hold up the disaster aid.
House leadership wants to pass it via unanimous consent, but Massie objects to the process, reasoning that lawmakers should at least be allowed to vote on it, considering how much money they're dealing with here.
Passing an unbudgeted $19 billion spending bill without a vote of Congress is legislative malpractice.— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 28, 2019
He also wondered aloud why Pelosi let them go on recess if the bill was an emergency.
"If the speaker of this House felt that this was must-pass legislation, the speaker of this House should have called a vote on this legislation before sending its members on recess for 10 days,” he said on the House floor.
But, many of his colleagues, including a few of his fellow Republicans, questioned Massie's motives and argue that now is not the time to engage in political self-interests.
This is yet another example of politicians putting their own self-interest ahead of the national interest.— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) May 28, 2019
It’s pathetic that some members have chosen this moment to grandstand & get into the national headlines. https://t.co/KodgZ1MhNL
Unfortunately, more clowns showed up today to once again delay disaster relief for the states and farmers devastated by the storms of 2018. This bill will pass the House next week, and President Trump will sign it. #GA08— Rep. Austin Scott (@AustinScottGA08) May 28, 2019
It's the second time in a week a Republican lawmaker delayed the disaster aid package. On Friday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) demanded they take a proper vote on the measure, with debates and all.
The House will have another chance to pass the measure on Thursday.