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Disaster Relief Bill Fails To Pass Through Senate


A $13.5 billion disaster relief bill, which would have provided recovery money for areas recently hit by devastating wildfires in California, failed to pass through the United States Senate on April 1, 2019. The bill, which would have also provided recovery money to Midwestern states recently impacted by floods and to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief, failed with a 44-49 vote. It needed 60 votes to move onto final consideration. A similar bill passed by the United States House of Representatives also failed with a 44-46 vote on the same day.

Senate Fails To Pass Bill Due To Dispute Over Aid To Puerto Rico & Midwestern States

The $13.5 billion, Republican-drafted bill was rejected by Democrats who want $450 million in aid for Puerto Rico in addition to the $600 million provided by the bill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Republicans were “cruel and nasty” for being against sending more money to Puerto Rico. United States President Donald Trump has balked at giving more aid to Puerto Rico, claiming that previous relief funds sent to the island have been mismanaged. Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, denies that relief funds have been mismanaged.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that the House-passed bill failed because it didn’t contain any relief money for areas of the Midwestern impacted by recent flooding, calling it a “non-starter” for that reason. McConnell also said it failed because “the White House has indicated the President would not support the legislation because of policy decisions made by House Democrats.” Schumer believes that Trump’s stance on giving more aid to Puerto Rico is the reason why Senate Republicans wouldn’t vote for the House bill.

California Wildfire Victims Adversely Impacted By Bill’s Failure

The $13.5 billion bill would have provided relief to California, which has been devastated by recent wildfires. The Camp Fire killed 85 people, obliterated most of the town of Paradise and created $16.5 billion in damages in November 2018. Regardless of the reason that the bill failed to pass, California wildfire victims continue to struggle to rebuild all that was lost. Paradise, California, for example, was completely destroyed. Without additional aid, the town is likely to never recover.

The Camp Fire was California’s most destructive and deadliest wildfire ever. Three people are still missing after the Camp Fire. The Woolsey Fire killed 3 people, burned 96,949 acres of land and created $6 billion in damages, destroying 1,643 buildings in November 2018. The North Bay Fires, a string of 250 fires, killed 44 people in October 2017. A The Thomas Fire and other fires destabilized hillsides in Southern California resulting in a series of mudslides in and around Montecito, in January 2018, killing 21 people . Two people are still missing after the mudslides.

California Wildfire Lawsuits

Nadrich & Cohen and its legal teams continue to pursue lawsuits on behalf of residents, renters, homeowners and business owners who sustained injuries, damages and losses as a result of the devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018. Multiple suits have been filed against PG&E and SoCal Edison.

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