Update (6/4/19): The bill passed on June 3 by a vote of 354-58
(Original) A disaster supplemental funding bill that would help Iowans impacted by flooding this spring stalled on Friday and again on Tuesday after a Republican blocked the bill.
“I am beyond fed up. This is wrong. This bill is about helping people – not about playing Washington politics. Congress needs to do its job and pass this bill. Iowans deserve better than this,” U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said in a released statement on Friday.
“Once again, House Republicans have decided to play politics with Iowans’ lives and are using procedural tricks to stop Iowans’ from receiving the assistance they need to recover and rebuild. I was proud to preside over the initial passage of the Supplemental Appropriations Act in the House earlier this month, as Congresswoman Axne added billions to assist Iowans who have been impacted by flooding. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican: I’ll work with anyone who is serious about helping Iowans and I’ll stand up to anyone who hurts them,” U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, said in a released statement on Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon:
How can a lone Republican block a bill with a Democrat majority? Because Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif, decided to pass the bill by unanimous consent. This procedure allows Congress to pass a bill without debate if every member agrees, cutting out the time-consuming aspects of passing legislation. This is ok, for instance, on a resolution naming a post office, but a spending bill? That’s debatable.
Yes, disaster aid packages generally have wide, bipartisan support, but rarely do they have unanimous support. You should only try to pass a bill by unanimous support if it actually has unanimous support. The representatives who objected want a debate, that is their right, that is how the House of Representatives should function.
Pelosi should have put the bill on the calendar last week, or, at the very least, should have placed it on the calendar after her attempt at unanimous consent was blocked the first time.
Representatives Axne, Finkenauer, and Loebsack should direct their complaints to their party’s leadership, not House Republicans, for attempting to forego debate on a bill that would never receive unanimous consent. They should stop playing politics and demand that Pelosi schedule a debate and vote.