WASHINGTON – In the brief space between monster storms last week, Congress signed off on billions of dollars in aid for the hurricane-ravaged Texas Gulf Coast — over the objections of Rep. Tom Emmer and dozens of his colleagues.
The $15 billion aid package sailed through the House 316-90 Friday and was swiftly approved by President Donald Trump as Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida.
The votes against it came from Republicans still reeling from the deal the president cut with congressional Democrats to package storm aid with an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government into December.
“Today’s vote was a vote against continuing the status quo, which we know to be unsustainable,” Emmer said in a statement Friday. He had voted in favor of an $8 billion Harvey aid package earlier in the week. “Congress must be able to address the crisis of the day without creating another one down the line.”
Emmer wasn’t in Congress in 2013, when all three Minnesota Republicans voted against federal aid to communities hit by superstorm Sandy, citing concerns that the storm aid had not been offset by spending cuts elsewhere. This time, Emmer was the lone no vote.
Republican Rep. Jason Lewis said the three-month continuing resolution bought Congress some room to respond to the looming natural disasters and get its 2018 finances in order.
“This is by no means a blank check,” Lewis said in a statement Friday.
The Minnesota DFL blasted Emmer’s vote as “heartless.”
Trump overruled Republican leadership and his own treasury secretary on the debt ceiling agreement.