This week: House set to pass disaster aid after setbacks
© Greg Nash

The House is poised to pass a $19.1 billion disaster relief package after three Republican congressmen blocked the legislation over the Memorial Day recess.

The House has scheduled a Monday vote on the legislation, which is meant to provide recovery funding for a spate of recent storms, wildfires and hurricanes.

The Senate passed the bill shortly before the Memorial Day recess, meaning once it clears the House it will go to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse drip-bombing of witness testimony softens landing zone for public support Republican who aided in Clinton impeachment trial: Trump Ukraine phone call 'troublesome' Trump highlights Gingrich comments on 'coup' by 'left-wingers' MORE’s desk, where he’s expected to sign it.

Lawmakers had hoped to put the long-stalled legislation behind them last month, but instead Monday’s vote comes after it was blocked three times over the recess by Republican Reps. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Trump congratulates China on anniversary as GOP lawmakers decry communist rule Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state MORE (Texas), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieGOP lawmaker says newly-released Butina was jailed due to 'Russophobia' O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Scalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms MORE (Ky.) and John RoseJohn Williams RoseFrom state agriculture departments to Congress: Our farmers need the USMCA Trump signs long-awaited .1B disaster aid bill 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill MORE (Tenn.).

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Both chambers are facing an abbreviated work week ahead of the 75th D-Day anniversary.

The disaster money was stuck in limbo for weeks over a fight over additional aid for Puerto Rico, after Trump criticized the island territory during a closed-door Senate GOP lunch. The final deal includes $600 million in food stamp aid for Puerto Rico and $300 million in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants.

The inclusion of the HUD grants marks a win for Democrats after the original GOP proposal only included the food stamp money.

The Senate’s vote came after Trump agreed to drop immigration provisions from the bill, which had emerged as an eleventh-hour sticking point that threatened passage of the disaster money.

The White House's $4.5 billion border money request included $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance. About $1.1 billion would go have gone toward operations such as expanding the number of detention beds and providing more investigative resources.  

A senior Democratic aide said that Democrats secured language in the disaster aid agreement to prohibit the new funding in the package from being transferred to things that were not specifically appropriated for, including the president’s wall.

But the lack of border money sparked backlash from House conservatives, including Roy, who cited it as one of his reasons for holding up the bill.

“It is a bill that includes nothing to address the clear national emergency and humanitarian crisis we face at our southern border,” Roy said from the House floor as he blocked the bill.

Immigration

Legislation aimed at providing permanent status with a path to citizenship to upwards of two million immigrants who came to the country illegally as minors, commonly referred to as Dreamers, is expected to come to the floor for a vote this week.

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 — spearheaded by Rep. Lucille Roybal-AllardLucille Roybal-AllardHispanic Caucus dedicates Day of the Dead altar to migrants who died in US custody Trump faces serious crunch in search for new Homeland Security leader Synagogues ramp up security in year since Tree of Life shooting MORE (D-Calif.) — is slated to be taken up in the House Rules Committee on Monday evening.

Providing protections for Dreamers is a top priority for Democrats, who have heavily criticized the Trump administration’s moves to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“As a co-author of the original Dream Act, and as representative of the congressional district with America’s largest Dreamer population, I know that our Dreamers love America and call it their home. I have seen the talents and strong work ethic they bring to our economy. I have seen them strengthen our communities and our culture,” Roybal-Allard said in a statement after it passed out of committee.

While the bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled lower chamber, it faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, which rejected several immigration proposals last year.

No GOP lawmakers have opted to sign onto the bill as a co-sponsor.

Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates Rand Paul says Trump has 'every right' to withhold Ukraine aid over corruption Paul dismisses Bevin loss, touts 'red wave' in other Kentucky races MORE budget

The Senate will start off the week with a vote on Monday evening on taking up Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) “Pennies Plan.”

Paul’s proposal would balance the budget in roughly five years and cut spending over a decade by more than $11 trillion compared to current spending levels.

The proposal also includes a provision allowing for the expansion of Health Savings Accounts, a policy priority for Paul, and a sense of Congress “that the United States will not be a socialist nation.”

The Senate voted down a similar proposal last year, with 21 senators supporting the measure and 76 voting against it.

The vote on Paul’s budget comes as lawmakers are still searching for a budget deal for the 2020 fiscal year that would prevent across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, from kicking in.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Biden not ruling out Senate voting to impeach Trump: 'It will depend on what their constituency says' Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerIlhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate Siren song of impeachment lures Democrats toward election doom MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Nunes pressed on Fox News about comparing impeachment inquiry to a 'coup' MORE (R-Calif.) met with acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney to file separate suit to fight impeachment subpoena Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNew book questions Harris's record on big banks On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive MORE ahead of the Memorial Day recess, but failed to reach an agreement.

Schumer acknowledged after the meeting that they were far apart on the top-line figure for nondefense spending.

Nominations

McConnell has teed up several nominations for the Senate to tackle during the abbreviated work week.

The chamber is expected to vote on Monday evening to take up Andrew Saul’s nomination to be a commissioner of the Social Security Administration.

After the Senate dispenses with Saul’s nomination, they’ll turn to David Schenker’s nomination to be assistant secretary of State, Heath Tarbert to be chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Heath Tarbert to be a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Susan Combs to be an assistant secretary of the Interior.

They’ll also take up three judicial nominations: Ryan Holte to be a judge of the Court of Federal Claims, Rossie Alston to be a District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia and Richard Hertling to be a judge of the Court of Federal Claims.

Under a rules change Senate Republicans implemented in April the nominations can be considered with only two hours of debate once they’ve defeated a filibuster. 

Rafael Bernal contributed