Senate sends $36.5 billion disaster relief bill to Trump's desk

Senate sends $36.5 billion disaster relief bill to Trump's desk

The Senate easily cleared a disaster relief bill on Tuesday, sending the legislation to President Trump's desk.

Senators voted 82-17 on the House-passed measure, which includes help for the response to a string of wildfires and trio of hurricanes.

Each of the 17 "no" votes came from Republicans, including Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Senate GOP sounds alarm over Trump's floated auto tariffs Biden, Corker honored with Freedom House human rights awards MORE (Tenn.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOvernight Energy: Reporters barred from Day 2 of EPA summit | Dems blame Trump for gas price increases | Massachusetts to get new offshore wind farm Jeff Flake: Trump has 'debased' the presidency Senate Democrats look for traction on gas prices MORE (Ariz.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTrump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Denial of services to same-sex couples can harm their health GOP Senate primary heats up in Montana MORE (Utah), among others.

Senators rejected an uphill bid from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Overnight Energy: Reporters barred from Day 2 of EPA summit | Dems blame Trump for gas price increases | Massachusetts to get new offshore wind farm MORE (R-Ky.) to include an offset that would pay for the more than $36 billion in funding.

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“You'll find often that it's easy to be compassionate with someone else's money. But it’s not only that. It’s not only compassion with someone else’s money. It’s compassion with money that doesn't even exist, money that's borrowed,” Paul said during a speech from the Senate floor.

The bill, which passed the House earlier this month, would provide $36.5 billion to fund hurricane relief, a flood insurance program and wildfire recovery efforts in the West.

That includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund, $16 billion to address national flood insurance program debt and $576.5 million for wildfire recovery efforts. It also provided $1.27 billion for disaster food assistance for Puerto Rico.

Tuesday's passage of the disaster relief bill comes after Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonPoll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade MORE (D-Fla.) tried to add more money to the legislation to help with the recovery efforts for hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria.

His request was blocked, as expected, by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says he backs Mueller probe after classified briefing Overnight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Senate Dems’ campaign chief ‘welcomes’ midterm support from Clintons MORE (R-Ky.). 

"I hope he knows the Senate remains committed to doing its part to support the ongoing hurricane relief efforts. We all see this as a multistage process. ... There will be additional rounds, and we are all fully committed to meeting the needs that have arisen as a result of these devastating hurricanes," McConnell said, explaining his reason for objecting.

Senators had mulled adding more financial help to the bill but, after getting clarification from the Trump administration about future disaster relief, decided to pass it as is.