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U.S. Senate passes bipartisan disaster relief compromise

The Senate approved a compromise bill to provide disaster relief for Americans impacted by eligible natural disasters between 2017 and 2019. The bill passed this week after months of negotiations, which were primarily delayed over disagreements about funding for Puerto Rico hurricane recovery efforts and the southern border.

The legislation will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Since late last year, Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, has advocated for a disaster relief funding bill that would benefit Alabama. In February, he and other colleagues proposed a bipartisan $13.6 billion disaster relief package, which also included aid to Lee County as a result of the March 3 tornadoes that left 23 dead, as well as farmers in the Wiregrass whose crops were damaged by Hurricane Michael. That legislation was incorporated into the broader bill that the Senate approved yesterday.

In April, Senator Jones was the only member of the Senate to support both disaster relief bills that were brought to a vote. After both bills failed, he personally reached out to the President to ask him to strike a compromise that could earn bipartisan support.

Jones said he is glad the Senate passed the disaster relief bill that will aid Alabama residents who suffered from the Lee County tornadoes and Hurricane Michael but that he was disappointed the process took so long.

“I am glad the Senate finally stepped up to pass a disaster relief bill that will help folks in Alabama who have suffered so much already, from our farmers in the Wiregrass to the tornado survivors in Lee County,” Jones said. “This relief will be a great help to the ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts in our state. And while I am glad that we’ve finally found common ground on this important step, I am disappointed that this disaster bill took so long to get done. We should never allow politics to get in the way of helping our fellow Americans recover from a disaster.”

 

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Jessa Reid Bolling is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter and graduate of The University of Alabama with a B.A. in journalism and political science.

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