Senate Republicans Block Comprehensive Disaster Relief For All American Communities For Second Time In A Week

WASHINGTON (Thursday, April 4, 2019) – Senate Republicans Thursday blocked a disaster assistance package that would address the needs of all American communities affected by recent natural disasters for the second time in a week.  The move follows President Trump’s campaign of holding aid to all American communities hostage over a petty, political grudge with the American citizens of Puerto Rico.

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said:  “I have always stood with victims of disaster, and I have not given up on finding a path forward to provide aid to all American communities affected by recent natural disasters.  The White House may refer to Puerto Rico as ‘that country’ that ‘only takes from the USA.’  But Puerto Rico is part of the USA. These are our fellow American citizens.  We in the Senate must be better than that.  We must stand with all American citizens in times of crisis.”

The Leahy-Schumer Amendment blocked by Senate Republicans would have provided $16.7 billion in disaster assistance including $2.5 billion in new disaster funding for communities in the Southeast and Midwest and restoring certain funding for Puerto Rico and other states and territories. In total, the amendment would add $3.2 billion to Senate Republican bill, of which only $462 million is for Puerto Rico. 

In total, the Leahy-Schumer Amendment blocked by Senate Republicans would have provided new resources to communities in Florida, California, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, California, Missouri, Puerto Rico, The U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. 

On Monday, Senate Republicans blocked a separate Leahy amendment that would have accommodated communities affected by 2019 disasters, despite Republican claims that Senate Democrats were ignoring the needs of these communities.

Leahy’s Full Statement is available HERE

A One-Pager on the Leahy-Schumer Amendment with state-by-state and territory-by-territory breakdown is available HERE

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CONTACT: Jay Tilton – 202-224-2667