ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-day
89°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 89° L 76°
  • clear-day
    89°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 89° L 76°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    83°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 89° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

News
House sends long-delayed $19.1B disaster aid bill to Trump
Close

House sends long-delayed $19.1B disaster aid bill to Trump

House sends long-delayed $19.1B disaster aid bill to Trump
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., attends a ceremonial swearing in outside the House chamber, Monday June 3, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington, just after the House voted to approve a $19 billion disaster aid bill, breaking a conservative blockade and sending the measure to President Trump, who is expected to sign it. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

House sends long-delayed $19.1B disaster aid bill to Trump

A long-delayed $19.1 billion disaster aid bill has sailed through the House and headed to President Donald Trump for his expected signature, overcoming months of infighting, misjudgment and a feud between Trump and congressional Democrats.

Lawmakers gave the measure final congressional approval on Monday by 354-58 in the House's first significant action after returning from a 10-day recess. It was backed by all 222 voting Democrats and 132 Republicans, including the GOP's top leaders and many of its legislators from areas hit by hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires. Fifty-eight Republicans voted "no," including many of the party's most conservative members.

Trump hailed passage of the bill, tweeting, "Farmers, Puerto Rico and all will be very happy." The Republican president also suggested, incorrectly, that the bill would now see action in the Senate. That chamber had already passed the bill by a sweeping 85-8 vote on its way out of Washington May 23, a margin that reflected a consensus that the bill is long overdue.

But conservative Republicans in the House held up the bill last week, objecting on three occasions to efforts by Democratic leaders to pass the bill by a voice vote requiring unanimity. They said the legislation — which reflects an increasingly permissive attitude in Washington on spending to address disasters that sooner or later hit every region of the country — shouldn't be rushed through without a recorded vote.

Along the way, House and Senate old-timers seemed to outmaneuver the White House, though Trump personally prevailed upon Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., to drop a bid to free up billions of dollars for dredging and other harbor projects.

The measure was initially held up over a fight between Trump and Democrats over aid to Puerto Rico that seems long settled.

"Some in our government refused to assist our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico who are still recovering from a 2017 hurricane. I'm pleased we've moved past that," said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. "Because when disaster strikes, we shouldn't let a ZIP code dictate our response."

The measure also faced delays amid failed talks on Trump's $4 billion-plus request to care for thousands of mostly Central American migrants being held at the southern border. The sides narrowed their differences but couldn't reach agreement in the rush to go on recess, but everyone agrees that another bill will be needed almost immediately to refill nearly empty agency accounts to care for migrants.

"We must work together quickly to pass a bill that addresses the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border and provides law enforcement agencies with the funding they need," said top Appropriations Committee Republican Kay Granger of Texas. "The stakes are high. There are serious — life or death — repercussions if the Congress does not act."

The measure is largely the same as a version that passed the House last month. Republicans opposed it for leaving out the border funding.

Among the reasons was a demand by House liberals to block the Homeland Security Department from getting information from federal social welfare authorities to help track immigrants residing in the U.S. illegally who take migrant refugee children into their homes.

As the measure languished, disasters kept coming — with failed levees in Arkansas, Iowa and Missouri and tornadoes across Ohio just the most recent examples. The measure is supported by the bipartisan party leadership in both House and Senate.

The legislation is also being driven by Florida and Georgia lawmakers steaming with frustration over delays in delivering help to farmers, towns and military bases slammed by hurricanes last fall. Flooding in Iowa and Nebraska this spring added to the coalition behind the measure, which delivers much of its help to regions where Trump supporters dominate.

The bill started out as a modest $7.8 billion measure passed in the last days of House GOP control. A $14 billion version advanced in the Democrat-led chamber in January and ballooned to $19.1 billion by the time it emerged from the floor last month, fed by new funding for community rehabilitation projects, Army Corps of Engineers water and flood protection projects, and rebuilding funds for several military bases, including Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Many Republicans opposed funding to mitigate future disasters as part of rebuilding projects when Superstorm Sandy funding passed in 2013, only to embrace it now that areas such as suburban Houston need it. Democrats, for their part, held firm for what ended up as roughly $1.4 billion for Puerto Rico, letting Trump feud with the U.S. territory's Democratic officials for weeks and deflecting political blame for stalling the bill.

___

This story has been corrected to show that more than 130 Republicans voted for bill, rather than "more than 50."

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Police arrested a 33-year-old man Monday on suspicion of intentionally driving into pedestrians in Jefferson City, injuring a 61-year-old man and killing a pregnant woman and her 2-year-old son, according to investigators. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said William David Phillips, of Jefferson City, swerved to intentionally hit Tillman Gunter, 61, while driving west on East Main Street on Monday afternoon. Police said Phillips traveled less than a mile before swerving again, striking Sierra Wilson Cahoon, 30, and her 2-year-old son, Nolan Cahoon. Cahoon, Nolan and Cahoon’s unborn child were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to investigators. Gunter was taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, police said. Authorities were called around 3:30 p.m. Monday after Phillips lodged the car he was driving into a building for Sustainable Aquatics, a fish hatchery, according to The Citizen Tribune and the Knoxville News Sentinel. Witness Bill Ray Jones told WBIR-TV he heard Phillips yelling that the “government told him to do it” as he tried to flee from the scene of the crash. 'He knew he had hit (Cahoon) and I'm sure he did because he was talking all crazy,' he told the news station. Sustainable Aquatics owner John Carberry told the News Sentinel he arrived at the scene of the crash within minutes Monday and found Cahoon and her son dead on the sidewalk. “There was a hole in the building and one of my employees ran out,” Carberry told the News Sentinel. “She had minor injuries. She ran up to the main building, and the perpetrator ran out of the hole and ran up and some local citizens grabbed him.” The crash ruptured several fish tanks and destroyed four fish systems, Carberry told The Citizen Tribune and the News Sentinel. He estimated about 2,000 wild-caught fish died after the crash caused more than 10,000 gallons of water to rush from the tanks. “I just want to let the police do their job and mourn the passing of this mother and child,” Carberry told The Citizen Tribune. “It’s very sad.” Phillips, of Jefferson City, was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. Authorities filed an additional murder charge against Phillips on Wednesday for the death of Cahoon's unborn child, WATE reported. In a news release, police said investigators believed 'this was an intentional act of violence toward randomly chosen pedestrians. “Investigators have determined that Phillips did not know the victims,” police said. In an arrest warrant obtained Wednesday by the News Sentinel, authorities said Phillips told investigators “a voice told him that he needed to go kill meth addicts.” After Phillips spotted Cahoon and her son, 'He said the voice told him that the baby stroller had meth in it so he intentionally drove into (the mother and child) ... killing them both,' the warrant said, according to the News Sentinel. Records from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department showed he remained jailed Wednesday. A spokesperson for Carson-Newman University, a Christian university in Jefferson City, told WBIR-TV that Cahoon and Nolan were the wife and son of Matt Cahoon, an assistant athletic trainer at the school. “Our hearts are breaking for one of our own,” Carson-Newman University interim President Paul Percy said Tuesday in a statement. “We take comfort in knowing that God also feels our pain and hears our prayers. Because of this, we ask for prayers for Matt and his family now and in the days ahead.” Officials at First Steps Preschool at the First United Methodist Church told WBIR-TV Nolan was a happy student who always gave out hugs and high-fives. 'He was a joy,' the preschool’s director, Jessica Lawson, told WBIR-TV. 'He would walk through the door smiling every morning.' Officials at Carson-Newman University started a fund to benefit the Cahoon family. Those wishing to contribute can donate online to The Randall and Kay O’Brien Benevolent Fund on the university’s website.
  • A man who stabbed a New York City man early Tuesday also partially severed his own finger during the attack, police said. >> Read more trending news  The 35-year-old victim, who was repeatedly stabbed, lived in the Bronx, WPIX reported. According to police, the attacker and victim were arguing outside a bar at 1:15 a.m. when the stabbing occurred. The victim was stabbed in the back, while the attacker partially cut a finger on his left hand, WPIX reported. The assailant then ran away, police said. Police said the attacker appeared to be in his mid- to late 20s, the television station reported. The man had a beard and tattoos on his right forearm and upper right arm, WPIX reported. Police said the man was last seen wearing a red baseball cap, white T-shirt and dark colored shorts, the television station reported.
  • A mentally ill Oregon woman suffered life-threatening injuries Monday when she apparently climbed into a garbage chute at her boyfriend’s condominium community and plunged 16 stories to the bottom. The Oregonian reported that the woman, who was not publicly identified, suffered head injuries in her fall from the 16th floor of the Civic, a condo building in Portland’s Pearl District.  Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Rich Chatman told the newspaper the woman, who is in her late 20s, slid down into the garbage collection area, where firefighters found her unconscious. Police declined to file charges against the woman. “I can say there was a mental health component involved,” Chatman told the paper.  On Tuesday, Chatman said it appeared the woman put herself in the chute.  “The prevailing assumption is that she got into the chute on her own will,” he said.  Steven Lofton, who lives on the 16th floor of the Civic, told a reporter that the woman and her boyfriend are known on their floor for getting into fights, both verbal and physical. Neighbors had voiced their concerns to the building’s management. >> Read more trending news Lofton said he heard someone pounding on his door just after lunchtime Monday and went to the door to find the woman, who told him she was afraid. When he opened his door, she rushed in, screaming, and began trashing his condo, he told the paper.  “She was wild, just absolutely wild,” Lofton said. “She was breaking and throwing everything in her sight. Plates, vases, cutlery. You name it.” The woman ran out into the hallway, where she encountered her boyfriend. They got into a physical confrontation, Lofton said.  Lofton said he closed his door and called 911. The woman went down the garbage chute moments later, The Oregonian said.  A Portland police spokeswoman told the paper Tuesday that a domestic violence investigation is ongoing, though detectives are waiting for the woman’s condition to improve. “The involved woman’s medical situation is of a higher priority than the criminal investigation at this time,” Jones said in an email to the newspaper.  
  • Meet Poncho Via - the newest holder of a Guinness World Record with a sensational set of 10 foot-7.4 inches horns from tip to tip. The 7-year-old steer makes his home in Goodwater, Alabama and has been living with his family, the Pope’s, since he was six-months old. The family said they knew Poncho was something special when his horns began to grow out to the sides inside of curving up, like other longhorns’ do. Poncho is very popular around town too, with his ‘dad’ saying of him, 'All my neighbors (around) here, any time they have company, they come over to see the longhorn. He's just a big, gentle character. Everyone brings (food) with them -- he likes apples, carrots and marshmallows.' Mobile user see tweet here. His humongous horns aren’t all glitz and show, though. They’ve gotten him into trouble a time or two. George Jones, a family member who helps out with Poncho on the ranch, tells the story, “He pulled a water bottle right out my pocket with his tongue. He's there playing with the bottle and I reached and scratched him for a bit.'  The caretaker said he was knocked into a pond once, when the longhorn became spooked by something. 'That went on for a little while and I guess a horsefly got on him or something (because), all of a sudden, he turned that head and I went airborne into the pond. He just knocked me completely off my feet into the water,' Jones said. The former record holder, a Texas longhorn named Sato, had a horn spread of 10 feet, 6.3 inches, when measured in September, according to Guinness World Records. As the tweet below mentions, Poncho’s horns measures more than twice the width of a concert grand piano. Mobile user see tweet here.
  • An independent investigator for the United Nations says there is 'credible evidence' warranting a probe into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's possible involvement in the 2018 slaying of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.  >> Read more trending news  According to The Associated Press, U.N. special rapporteur Agnes Callamard said in a 101-page report that 'a proper authority' should consider whether the crown prince or senior adviser Saud Alqahtani bore 'criminal responsibility' in the death. 'Mr. Khashoggi's killing constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible,' the report said.  Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi regime, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. Saudi officials later blamed the death on 'rogue operators,' CNN reported. Eleven people – five of whom could receive the death penalty – are being tried in Saudi Arabia in connection with the slaying. The report said Callamard made 'no conclusion' as to whether the crown prince or Alqahtani are guilty but determined that Khashoggi's execution was 'deliberate' and 'premeditated,' news outlets reported. The report also named 15 suspects in the incident, during which Khashoggi was drugged, suffocated and dismembered, CNN reported. Read more here or here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Washington Insider

  • After weeks of negotiations over a White House request for extra money to deal with a surge of illegal immigrants along the southern border with Mexico, Senators on a key spending panel voted 30-1 on Wednesday to approve a $4.59 billion spending package to insure that various federal agencies have enough money to address what President Donald Trump has said is a crisis at the border. 'This situation as most of us realize is past the breaking point,' said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). 'I believe we must act.' 'The fact is that we do have a humanitarian crisis on the border that does need to be addressed,' said Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who recounted crowded holding facilities for illegal immigrants. 'We've seen big numbers in the past, but we're going to exceed that this year,' said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). 'This bill is absolutely necessary,' said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). 'There are families and children who need our support.' The only 'no' vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee came from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). The bill only deals with money to help address the humanitarian needs along the border - it does not address any changes in U.S. immigration laws desired by President Trump. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee had been scheduled to start work on a bill which would make some of those immigration reforms, but that work will be delayed into July in search of a bipartisan agreement. “This is not a crisis - this is a disaster,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is leading President Trump's charge to change immigration laws. 'Our immigration laws are a disgrace and the Democrats can get together with the Republicans and solve the problem quickly,' the President told his campaign kickoff rally on Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida. It's expected the full Senate could vote on the package next week. It is not clear if the House would follow suit before lawmakers leave town at the end of June for a break during the week of July Fourth.