Republicans nix disaster aid for third time

Capitol HIll

Saipan— For a third time House Republicans have blocked passage of a $19 billion aid package for communities hit by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. Using parliamentary procedure to prevent agreement, Republican John Rose of Tennessee was responsible for Thursday’s action. Last Friday, Texas Republican Chip Roy effectively vetoed the aid bill. On Tuesday, it was Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie.

“At a time when the Marianas Medicaid program is out of money, the number of people on food stamps is likely to increase as the economy sputters, and government revenues continue to sink, this disaster aid bill is desperately needed,” CNMI Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan said.

“I put $36 million in the bill for Marianas Medicaid, $25.2 million for the food stamp program, and provided access for another $50 million of Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery funds to rebuild infrastructure and revitalize the economy.

“For months it was President Trump’s objections to help for Puerto Rico that stood in the way. Now, even the President is willing to sign the aid bill. But Republicans in the House keep objecting.”