Disaster aid bill blocked in the House again after House GOP objection

Posted at 4:54 PM, May 30, 2019

For the third time in the span of less than a week, a House Republican lawmaker on Thursday blocked the passage of a multibillion-dollar disaster relief bill, essentially guaranteeing the bill won't pass until the full House is back from recess on Monday.

The House and Senate are on recess this week, but when House Democrats tried to pass the legislation through unanimous consent on Thursday afternoon, Republican Rep. John Rose of Tennessee objected. The objection of just one lawmaker is all it takes to block legislation from being approved by unanimous consent.

The legislation is still expected to have the votes to pass when the House returns to Washington next week, but the objection will stall the bill until a floor vote can take place.

The $19.1 billion bill passed the Senate by a vote of 85 to 8 earlier this month and President Donald Trump has expressed support for the legislation.

Democrats have criticized the continued effort to block passage of the legislation, which has garnered bipartisan support. The opposition so far is coming from a small group of conservatives in the House, rather than GOP leadership.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said on Tuesday that the two top Republicans in the House -- Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana -- did not object to bringing the bill to the floor while Congress was out of town. A GOP aide confirmed that McCarthy and Scalise did not object.

But that hasn't stopped a handful of Republican lawmakers from objecting to passage of the measure. Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky objected during an attempt to pass the bill by unanimous consent. Before that, Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas did the same on Friday of the previous week.

"This is absolutely without a doubt wrong," Rose said Thursday, raising concerns about the bill being brought to the floor when most members are in their home districts.