US Senate Passes $19.1 Billion in Disaster Relief; No Border Aid

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The US Senate on Thursday approved $19.1 billion in aid to help Americans rebound from a string of natural disasters, and President Donald Trump supported it even though it did not include the funds he requested to address a migrant surge at the southern US border.

The Senate, which has a thin Republican majority, approved the measure 85-8. Democrats, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, said a vote could soon follow in that chamber.

The measure would assist victims of disasters across the country over the last two years, from hurricanes in the Southeast to Midwestern flooding and California wildfires. It includes funds to repair highways and other infrastructure and help farmers cover crop losses.

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It also includes about $1.4 billion in aid for the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, said Democratic Representative Nita Lowey. Trump had vehemently opposed sending more aid to the Caribbean island that was devastated by a hurricane in 2017.

“Each time the president messes in, things get messed up,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said, referring to repeated criticism from Trump of the proposed aid for Puerto Rico and Trump’s border aid request. “So I suggested this morning that we just do disaster aid and no border, and that’s what we’re doing. … We got all we wanted for Puerto Rico.”

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