Senate Democrats opposed the $13.45 billion legislation, contending the $600 million included for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program is inadequate to meet the U.S. territory’s needs as it attempts to recover from Hurricane Maria. The Democrats are embracing a House-passed relief bill containing hundreds of millions of dollars more for Puerto Rico than the GOP version, but it, too, failed to advance Monday as Republicans opposed it.
Trump opposes sending any additional aid to Puerto Rico apart from the food stamp money, funding Republicans convinced him to accept as the price for passing the long-pending disaster bill.
The vote on the GOP bill was 44 in favor and 49 against. The House Democratic bill failed on a vote of 46-to-48. Sixty votes were needed for either piece of legislation to advance.
It’s unclear how Congress and the administration will move forward to revive the emergency package, and the impasse risks indefinitely delaying disaster funding nationwide amid partisan sniping. Support for disaster aid is often bipartisan on Capitol Hill, but the dispute over this legislation has become increasingly bitter, despite the evident need.