Grassley endorses disaster bill as Leahy presents alternative
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, late Tuesday endorsed the Republican emergency supplemental bill that would aid Midwestern states that have experienced flooding in 2019, while today Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced an alternative that would provide more aid to Puerto Rico.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., released the bill on Tuesday.
“I thank Chairman Shelby for working with me and other senators from the Midwest to add the areas affected by the recent flooding eligible for the funding in this bill,” Grassley said.
Meanwhile, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig warned farmers of increased flooding.
Leahy said today that the Senate Republican bill “does not adequately address the needs of Puerto Rico and other territories, eliminating critical assistance that was included in the House bill.”
Leahy said his bill would not fully restore the cuts to the House bill, but would focus “on the most critical proposals and the immediate needs.”
On the Senate floor today, Leahy said, “Unfortunately, it appears that the president will not accept even this reasonable offer. Instead, he will endanger the entire disaster package because he wants to pick winner and losers. He wants to decide who gets assistance in the wake of disasters based on his own arbitrary standards and political grudges. This is unacceptable.”
The Leahy compromise amendment includes Community Development Block Grant funds for Puerto Rico and money to rebuild the island’s water systems as well as Medicaid funding for the Northern Mariana Islands, and a cost match waiver for the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, whose Medicaid programs face serious shortages due to increased need.