WASHINGTON — A disaster relief bill was prevented from advancing in the US House of Representatives on Friday after Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas objected to passing the bill, meaning the more than $19 billion in aid may not go to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature before June.
Lawmakers had hoped to advance the bill using unanimous consent which would quickly pass it out of the chamber. But it only takes one person to object to unanimous consent.
With Congress now in recess until June 3, it appears unlikely a vote would happen before then.
Roy cited the lack of money for the border — which Trump had sought — and the $19 billion price tag as two reasons for his objection. He also objected to approving a bill for $19 billion without all members getting the chance to vote on the measure.
Roy discussed his reasons objecting with reporters in the Capitol on Friday.
“The primary objection is really that we didn’t have a chance to vote. It’s the people’s House,” the congressman said.
“We’re not elected to have things pass through consent without debate. We should have had a vigorous debate and we should have a debate about why we’re not securing the border and why we’re spending money we don’t have,” he added.
Roy was also asked if he coordinated his move with anyone and said that he “gave a heads up to the Speaker’s office and Republican leadership,” and that there is “a significant amount of support among the [House GOP] conference for objecting given that it’s a Friday and this was dropped on our laps and we should have a debate, we should vote.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the move in a statement on Friday afternoon, calling it a “last-minute sabotage.”
“House Republicans’ last-minute sabotage of an overwhelmingly bipartisan disaster relief bill is an act of staggering political cynicism,” Pelosi said. “Countless American families hit by devastating natural disasters across the country will now be denied the relief they urgently need.”
Trump has said publicly that he would sign this bill even without the border funding he had previously requested.