Impasse Over Aid for Puerto Rico Stalls Billions in Federal Disaster Relief – The New York Times
Some lawmakers were optimistic that a resolution could be found quickly. Democrats in both chambers have pushed for a select group of lawmakers to draft legislation that borrows from both measures.
“I’m sure we’ll start talking again,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He compared the negotiating process to a three-legged stool: “You’ve got the House, you’ve got the Senate and the presidency.”
“We’re hopefully at a point where we can get some serious negotiations going,” he said.
Still, senators from both parties tried to used the disaster relief votes to their political advantage.
Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said that “tonight, my colleagues had the opportunity to choose action over obstruction.”
“Shamefully,” he added, “Senate Democrats said no.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said in a statement that “Congress used to set politics aside after major disasters and help victims in their time of need — partisan infighting won’t rebuild a single home or school.”
Even Puerto Rican politicians could not agree on which of the measures to support. Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló, a Democrat, urged lawmakers to endorse the House legislation. But Representative Jenniffer González-Colón, a Republican, spoke out in favor of the Senate measure. Ms. González-Colón is the island’s sole representative in Congress, but she cannot vote.
Even before the votes on Monday, Republicans had tried to turn disaster relief into a 2020 presidential campaign issue.