Senate to begin disaster aid votes today
April 1, 2019
The Senate is scheduled to vote at 5:30 p.m. today on a motion to invoke cloture on the supplemental disaster bill that would provide aid to the Midwestern states that are experiencing flooding this year as well as the southern states that experienced disasters from hurricanes and tornadoes and the western states that experienced wildfires in 2018.
If cloture is invoked the Senate will proceed to debate on the bill.
The Food & Environment Reporting Network noted Friday that the disaster bill "includes $3 billion in assistance to agricultural producers, including for floods this month in the northern Plains and the western Corn Belt as well as last year's wildfires in California and hurricanes in the South."
"The bill also offers $480 million for forest restoration, $125 million for emergency watershed restoration, and $150 million in grants for reconstruction projects in small communities," FERN said.
FERN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ordered the cloture vote to prevent a filibuster on the bill, which Democrats want to amend to include more aid to Puerto Rico.
The bill contains $600 million in additional funding for Puerto Rico's food stamp program, which is funded through a block grant, but the Democrats want additional aid for the island.
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Meanwhile, The New Food Economy reported that the problems with Puerto Rico's food stamp program began during the Reagan administration, which transitioned the island to a block-grant food assistance model.