The Senate’s Republican leader has promised a vote will be held next week on a disaster relief package and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican, says she’s encouraged by progress toward a final deal.
“Hopefully it is a bipartisan one that we can actually get to the desk of the president,” Ernst says.
Congress has been deadlocked over disaster funding since December and Democrats now in majority control of the U.S. House are insisting Puerto Rico get additional aid to recover from 2017 hurricanes. Funding for this spring’s flooding in Iowa has been included in recent proposals. Ernst toured flood damage in Davenport and Buffalo, Iowa, this past weekend.
“I was just reminded of the time that I spent mobilized as a National Guardsman in the Iowa floods of 2008 and 2011,” Ernst says. “Not knowing if these families are going to be able to get back into their homes, not knowing if those businesses will be able to return — the economic damage to those communities is significant and they need assistance.”
The Democratically-led House passed a disaster aid package last week. The Senate’s GOP leader wants to include provisions to ensure hemp farmers can buy federal crop insurance. President Trump is asking that the disaster aid package include extra money for border security to deal with a surge of immigrants at the southern border.