Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump

 
Senators voted 85-8 on the legislation, which provides $19.1 billion in recovery money for a recent slate of wildfires, hurricanes and storms. GOP Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Lawsuits pose new challenge for TikTok TikTok's leader to meet with lawmakers next week MORE (Tenn.), Mike BraunMichael BraunSenate braces for brawl on Trump impeachment rules Trump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Pressure grows on House GOP leaders to hold line ahead of impeachment trial MORE (Ind.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoThe job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Lawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid MORE (Idaho), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate braces for brawl on Trump impeachment rules Hillicon Valley: Pelosi works to remove legal protections for tech companies from USMCA | Treasury sanctions Russian group over 0 million hack | Facebook sues Chinese individuals for ad fraud | Huawei takes legal action against FCC Senators defend bipartisan bill on facial recognition as cities crack down MORE (Utah), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 Planned Parenthood targets GOP senators in seven-figure ad campaign MORE (Ariz.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors Senate braces for brawl on Trump impeachment rules Trump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans MORE (Ky.), Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischHillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats Senate panel to vote on Turkey sanctions next week MORE (Idaho) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPotential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment Athlete Peter Frates dies of ALS after becoming face of Ice Bucket Challenge Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat MORE (Utah) voted against the bill.
 
The House has already left for the weeklong Memorial Day recess. But a Democratic leadership aide said the caucus supports the measure and hopes to clear it by unanimous consent on Friday. 
 
The Senate's vote came hours after GOP Sens. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyDoug Loverro's job is to restore American spaceflight to the ISS and the moon Little progress as spending talks push past weekend This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (Ala.) and David Perdue (Ga.) talked on the phone with Trump, a conversation in which, according to GOP lawmakers, he told them he would support the bill without the immigration-related language that was a major sticking point to an agreement. 
 
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"We've proposed … that we come forth with a clean disaster package, a lot of things off including border security stuff, just disaster, basically. And the president said OK," Shelby told reporters.
 
The deal, according to a GOP appropriations aide, includes a total of $19.1 billion for disaster recovery. 
 
In a win for Democrats, it also includes $600 million in food stamp money for Puerto Rico and an additional $300 million in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants for the island territory. 
 
The Senate's original disaster bill, which included only the food stamp funding, derailed after Trump criticized Puerto Rico's handling of recovery money during a closed-door GOP lunch. Lawmakers acknowledged earlier this week that they had finalized that portion of the package. 
 
 
Thursday's vote is a U-turn from Wednesday evening when chances of getting a deal before the week-long Memorial Day recess appeared to be slipping as top negotiators canceled a meeting amid a standoff over how much of Trump's request for emergency border money to put in the bill. 
 
The White House's $4.5 billion border money request included $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance. About $1.1 billion would go toward operations such as expanding the number of detention beds and providing more investigation resources.  
 
Democrats were on board with including billions in humanitarian aid for the U.S.-Mexico border but had left Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) funding out of their previous offers because it's considered a non-starter for the caucus. Republicans, meanwhile, were accusing Democrats of trying to use the disaster bill to impose new immigration-related restrictions on the administration. 
 
Immigration has emerged as a lightning rod issue during the Trump administration, with both chambers rejecting multiple immigration and border proposals since 2017 and under pressure from their bases to draw red lines for any agreement. 
 
A senior Democratic aide added on Thursday 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.
 
"It does not include the humanitarian assistance for the border, which is a real problem, obviously, since they're in trouble being overrun with so many kids," said Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Israeli, Palestinian business leaders seek Trump boost for investment project The Hill's Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo MORE (R-Okla.) of the final agreement. 
 
But Shelby indicated that appropriators would circle back to the president's request once Congress returns to Washington in June. 
 
"We took it all out … [but] we're going to try to push that separately when we come back," Shelby said. "It's needed, but we're sticking with disaster now."
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Trump, asked about the disaster aid bill, told reporters during a farm aid event that he had been told he would get the immigration-related funding later.
 
"We’re going to get the immigration money later, according to everybody. I have to take care of my farmers with the disaster relief. If I didn’t do that — I mean, really, it’s a long time in coming," Trump said.
 
Trump added, "We'll take care of the immigration later. The wall is being built.”
 
Shelby told reporters that he told Trump that the Senate would take back up his emergency funding request in June, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) likely to bring it straight to the floor. If the chamber is going to pass a bill granting additional border money it will take 60 votes, including support from Democrats.
 
Aides had indicated on Thursday morning that immigration was still a sticking point that was making it difficult to get to an agreement.
 
Shortly after that, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (D-N.Y.) publicly floated dropping the immigration language, similar to a suggestion Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors Trump brings pardoned soldiers on stage at Florida fundraiser: report ICE emerges as stumbling block in government funding talks MORE (D-Vt.) made to Shelby on Wednesday evening. 

"If we can't come to an agreement this morning on other extraneous issues that the House is discussing, we should set those issues to the side," Schumer said. "We should pass the disaster agreement as is."

The idea quickly gained traction with senators — including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Justices to hear ObamaCare case with billions at stake Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Fla.) and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Job growth soars in November The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage Doug Collins on potential 2020 Senate run: I'm not 'ruling it out' MORE (R-Ga.) — from states impacted by a recent spate of storms. 

But it wasn't clear until after a closed-door GOP lunch that Trump would back the agreement, and House members spent the morning feuding over the lack of a disaster aid deal. 

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseLighthizer starts GOP charm offensive on Trump trade deal Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal Controversy on phone records intensifies amid impeachment MORE (R-La.) blasted Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate Tech legal shield included in USMCA despite late Pelosi push GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' MORE (D-Calif.) for allowing the House to recess on Thursday without holding a vote on a disaster relief package, alleging the California Democrat allowed members of her caucus’ calls for impeachment to get in the way of negotiating a bipartisan deal.
 
“We're incredibly disappointed that Speaker Pelosi is going to gavel out today without addressing disaster relief. We've been trying for months to get help to our farmers, to families who've been suffering, and there was a lot of effort made to try to get an agreement done before we left,” he told reporters.
 
Scalise didn’t rule out supporting a bipartisan deal agreed upon in the Senate, telling reporters: “However, we can get this job done and help these families. We ought to do it.”

—Juliegrace Brufke contributed