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Disaster relief bill clears major hurdle in Senate

Disaster relief bill clears major hurdle in Senate
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A House-passed bill aimed at helping communities impacted by a string of recent natural disasters cleared a key hurdle in the Senate on Monday evening.

Senators voted 79-16 to advance on the bill, setting up a final vote as soon as Tuesday.

All of the 16 "no" votes came from GOP senators, including Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBig Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot Matt Stoller says cheerleading industry shows why antitrust laws are 'insufficient' MORE (R-Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why Fauci to Chelsea Clinton: The 'phenomenal amount of hostility' I face is 'astounding' GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message MORE (R-Ky.).

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The House bill 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.

Monday evening's vote comes after Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemings raises million after announcing Senate bid against Rubio Russia threatens to leave International Space Station program over US sanctions Nikki Fried, only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, launches challenge to DeSantis 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 McConnellOn The Money: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process on Wednesday | Four states emerge as test case for cutting off jobless benefits GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' McConnell presses for 'actual consequences' in disclosure of tax data 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 now appear to be poised to pass the legislation as is.

In addition to the amendment from Nelson, Paul is pushing to get the $36.5 billion in spending paid for.

But the libertarian-leaning senator's effort faces an uphill fight. Senators rejected a similar proposal from him during the first round of disaster relief funding.