Today on the Hill: Democrats Continue Push to Clear Disaster Relief Bill

May 28, 2019

While most lawmakers are out of town for a Memorial Day district work period, House Democrats will convene an informal “pro forma” session of Congress later this afternoon where they are expected to make another attempt to pass a multi-billion dollar disaster aid package (text; summary) by unanimous consent (UC). Their first attempt last Friday was blocked by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who objected to UC on the disaster relief bill over concerns about the deficit and the bill’s lack of border security funding. It remains to be seen whether conservatives will keep objecting, as Rep. Roy has been noncommittal on his next steps for today’s pro forma session following backlash from members on both sides of the aisle. If the disaster relief bill cannot be cleared by UC, it will likely be taken up for a roll call vote as soon as lawmakers return on June 3.

If the disaster relief package does not pass the lower chamber this week, the House would need to take up a two-week extension for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) passed last week by the Senate. The disaster aid legislation contains a provision that would fund the NFIP through Sept. 30, and the two-week extension would serve as a fail-safe if the House is unable to clear the disaster bill before June 3. Funding for NFIP is currently on track to expire at the end of this month if lawmakers do not pass an extension.