House passes $19-billion disaster aid package over Trump's veto threat
The Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a $19.1-billion pork-rich disaster recovery bill that President Trump is threatening to veto.
Trump and the Republicans might have been willing to sign on to the package if it funded the president's demand for $4.5 billion in emergency funding to help the Department of Homeland Security deal with a near-record 98,997 border apprehensions in April. But Democrats almost unanimously oppose any new detention funding.
President Trump tweeted his opposition to the bill on Thursday night before the vote:
House Republicans should not vote for the BAD DEMOCRAT Disaster Supplemental Bill which hurts our States, Farmers & Border Security. Up for vote tomorrow. We want to do much better than this. All sides keep working and send a good BILL for immediate signing!
But the legislation, titled H.R. 2157, passed by 257-150, after $6.1 billion in amendments were added since April for disaster victims of Midwest flooding, California wildfires, and Carolina hurricanes enticed 34 GOP members to break ranks and vote with Democrats.
President Trump has been opposed to writing new unrestricted checks to Puerto Rico, due to corruption concerns that San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and other local politicians may have squandered a significant amount of $91 billion in disaster funding the island already received following 2017's Hurricane Maria, which killed almost 5,000 people.
The Democrats believe they can now shake down the Republican senators who are concerned for their conservative base with the Mississippi River–flooded Davenport, Iowa with a record high of 22.64 feet on Wednesday. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Mississippi has been above flood stage for 42 straight days, surpassing the historic record of 33 days in 2001.
The National Weather Service Prediction Center's May 10 forecast warned of "ongoing heavy rain across the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley," threatening continued "flash flooding across parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast." The NWS reported that heavy rainfall in the last 72 hours included over 14 inches in parts of Texas and up to seven inches of rain in southern Arkansas, Louisiana, and much of Mississippi.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projecting a 90-percent probability that a monster spring rainstorm will slam into the upper Plains states by May 18, and then track down the Mississippi Valley to bring horrendous flooding.
The May 9 Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Agricultural Credit Survey reported that the uptrend in Midwest farm incomes since 2016 has now turned down. They blame the continuation of both flooding and the China Trade War, which has caused a "decline in farm loan repayment rates" and is forcing bankers to tighten credit standards.