May 30 (UPI) —
For the third time in a week, a House Republican on Thursday blocked a bipartisan $ 19.1 billion disaster aid bill.
Rep. John Rose, R-Tenn., objected to the bill’s passing by unanimous consent, which would have allowed the bill to go into effect while the House is on recess.
“Our nation is $ 22 trillion in debt,” Rose said. “Trying to pass nearly $ 20 billion in new spending while the majority of Congress is not even in Washington reflects another act of irresponsible government.”
In a press release, Rose said it was of “dire concern” to him that the bill was being pushed through Congress without debate.
“I was elected to thoughtfully represent my constituent, and I cannot do that when legislation is taken up after the Speaker recesses the house,” he said, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who called for the House to go on recess since last Thursday. It will reopen on Monday.
The objection comes days after Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., voiced opposition to the bill’s immediate passage on Tuesday and it was first blocked May 24 by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who said he opposed the bill as it did not contain additional funds for U.S.-Mexico border security.
Pelosi criticized Rose’s blocking of the bill, accusing the Republicans of sabotaging its passage through obstruction.
“This is staggering,” she said in a statement. “House Republicans have once again heartlessly sabotaged the passage of an urgently needed, bipartisan bill to bring relief to millions of families across America devastated by natural disasters.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told reporters following Rose’s objection that no one should be “playing” with disaster relief with millions of Americans suffering from recent natural disasters.
“We don’t think they should be playing parliamentary games with it,” he said.
The recent delays follow the bill being stymied since it was introduced by House Democrats in January. Senate Republicans pushed back against approving more recovery funds for Puerto Rico, which will get over $ 600 million in nutrition assistance with the bill.
However, Trump and the Senate came to a compromise last week in a closed-door meeting on the bill, which was then passed by the Senate 85-8 on May 23.