GOP lawmaker defends blocking disaster relief vote during recess

Greg Nash

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on Monday defended blocking a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill from being passed during the House’s Memorial Day recess.

Roy, a member of the House Freedom Caucus who previously worked for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), came under fire after being the first of three conservative lawmakers to delay passage of the bill, which will provide funding to recovery efforts in areas impacted by recent storms, wildfires and hurricanes.

The legislation does not include $4.5 billion in border funding requested by President Trump but provides $900 million in aid to Puerto Rico, a provision the White House did not support. 

{mosads}But Trump had agreed to sign the bill that passed the Senate in an 85-8 vote late last month. 

Roy on May 24 blocked the $19.1 billion disaster relief bill by objecting to a unanimous consent vote, arguing that the House should not have recessed before allowing lawmakers to debate the measure and go on the record regarding the legislation given the size of the spending. 

“My Democratic colleagues tried three separate times to pass this $19 billion disaster supplemental, which is unpaid for and most members haven’t read, without members’ vote for a simple consent, which was solely two members in this chamber,” he said during debate on the floor.

“Members should cast an up-or-down vote on major legislation that spends significant amounts of taxpayer money. The American people send their representatives to Washington to represent them. They deserve to see how we vote,” he added.

Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and John Rose (R-Tenn.) followed Roy in taking action to block the bill during the House recess.

Roy on Monday also cited concerns with the bill’s impact on the national debt, arguing Congress needs to take strides to cut spending.

“While I’m happy the Speaker chose to go back to regular procedure, I am still troubled we’re poised to spend $19 billion that is not paid for when we are racking up $100 million an hour in national debt,” he said.

The three lawmakers faced bipartisan backlash after blocking the bill. House Appropriations Committee ranking member Kay Granger (R-Texas) referred to the maneuver as a “political stunt,” and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) accused the members of “grandstanding.”

Tags Chip Roy Donald Trump John Rose Kay Granger Nita Lowey Ted Cruz Thomas Massie
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