House And Senate Reach $19 Billion Deal On Disaster Aid, Senators Say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives and Senate negotiators have reached a deal on a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill that has President Donald Trump’s support, lawmakers from both parties said on Thursday.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby said there could be a Senate vote on the legislation as early as Thursday. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed that Democrats backed the legislation to help Americans rebound from a string of natural disasters, from wildfires to floods and hurricanes.

The agreement does not include emergency funds to address a migrant surge at the southern U.S. border that Trump had requested earlier this month, senators said.

“I had a nice conversation with the president about an hour or so ago,” Shelby, chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, told reporters outside the Senate. “We proposed that we come forth with a clean disaster package. …The president said okay.”

A spokesman for House Appropriations Chairman Nita Lowey, a Democrat, said she is pleased the bipartisan legislation “will meet urgent needs across the country.”

“If the Senate passes the legislation today, House Democrats support clearing it through the House as soon as possible,” Lowey’s spokesman, Evan Hollander, said.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler)

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