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 CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (Tenn.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (Ariz.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE (Utah), among others.

Senators rejected an uphill bid from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election Hillicon Valley: Senate report finds major cyber shortcomings in federal agencies | Gig firms seek Mass. ballot question to classify workers as contractors | Blizzard's president steps down after workplace protests 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 NelsonTom Brady to Biden: '40 percent of the people still don't think we won' Rubio, Demings rake in cash as Florida Senate race heats up How transparency on UFOs can unite a deeply divided nation 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates McConnell warns Schumer cutting off debate quickly could stall infrastructure deal Top House Democrat says party would lose elections if they were held today: report 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.