In a 354-58 vote on Monday, the House passed a multi-billion-dollar disaster aid bill, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.
President Trump had previously expressed support of the bill that would provide desperately needed relief to Americans hit by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires. The legislation was passed in the Senate last week.
Yet, despite the President’s public support of the disaster relief bill, several Republicans in the House objected to it, blocking the legislation’s passage in the chamber three times. During Memorial Day recess, House Democrats made three separate attempts to pass the bill by unanimous consent, failing every time due to a single Republican objecting, CNN writes.
Republican Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and John Rose refused to vote in favor of the bill, arguing that all members of the House need to be present to take a roll call vote and chiding Democrats for trying to pass the legislation with many representatives not in Washington.
However, the bill was the object of contention long before these GOP representatives refused to support it. Democrats and Republicans had for weeks been arguing about the amount of funding to be allocated to Puerto Rico, with Republicans maintaining that the island had misused funds already provided to it.
Democrats, on their part, accused their colleagues on the other side of the aisle of treating hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico unfairly by denying it the funds necessary to rebuild the ravaged island.
Lawmakers were likewise embroiled in a heated debate over whether to include funding to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, further dragging negotiations. At the end of last month, they eventually came to an agreement not to include funding for the border as part of their $19.1 billion relief bill.
After it passed in the Senate in an 85-8 vote, Trump twitted that the bill had his “total approval.”