$81 billion disaster aid package passes House

The US House of Representatives voted 251 to 169 to pass an $81 billion emergency aid bill Thursday, in order to assist communities in California, Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico following several natural disasters this year. The package includes $27.6 billion for the Federal Emergency Management association, $26.1 billion for Community Development Block Grants and $12.11 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers. It almost doubles the amount of money the White House requested last month. Its  fate in the Senate, however, remains unclear, as the upper chamber will take up the measure after the Christmas break. Democratic leaders in both chambers have strongly condemned the House's package, which was largely written by the GOP. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) called for more help for Puerto Rico's cash-strapped Medicaid program. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) warned the bill would likely take more than two days to approve. (Politico)