Today on the Hill: House Lawmakers Look to Break Disaster Relief Impasse

House lawmakers are set to vote on another disaster relief bill (textsummary) in hopes of breaking a months-long impasse over the emergency funds. The latest $17.2 billion offer from House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) includes additional funding for Army Corps of Engineers projects, Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) assistance, and the Department of Agriculture's Emergency Conservation program. The bill would also provide an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), pushing the expiration date from the end of this month to Sept. 30 in hopes of providing lawmakers with more time to hammer out a long-term reauthorization measure. The lower chamber will also consider 10 amendments to the underlying legislation prior to a vote on final passage.

Billions of dollars in disaster relief funding has been held up in Congress since December, with funding for Puerto Rico remaining the biggest sticking point. President Donald Trump has publicly encouraged House Republicans to vote against the Democrats’ latest bill, incorrectly claiming that Congress had already sent Puerto Rico $91 billion in aid. The Trump administration is also at odds with Senate Republicans over a provision in their bill that would free up more money from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by making those funds exempt from discretionary spending limits. While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have stressed the importance of passing a disaster relief supplemental, an end to the contentious stalemate remains uncertain.