The U.S. Senate has reportedly reached a deal with the White House on a long-delayed disaster aid bill, according to Politico.
Earlier Thursday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she wanted help to reach victims of natural disasters, some of whom have needed it for more than a year.
Iowans recovering from flooding and other survivors of natural disasters across the country are waiting for the federal assistance they are eligible for.
“Some of those folks have long been forgotten, and while the floods are fresh in everybody’s minds, we need to remember that there are still folks from last year, and communities, that haven’t received that type of assistance yet,” Ernst said.
The aid package could total $17 billion. But Ernst says the House version of the bill was dead-on-arrival in the Senate because it included partisan language, such as possible funding for Planned Parenthood.
“We need to focus on disaster supplemental assistance, not focus on trying to make a political point here or there,” she said. “It needs to be focused on getting timely assistance out to those who need it the most.”
Disagreement had lingered over how much money would go to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Aid for Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, was also a sticking point in the negotiations. Congressional leaders reached a deal earlier on that part of the disaster aid bill.