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Senate passes disaster relief bill, as Trump and Pelosi attacks grow more personal

After a months-long delay, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a funding bill Thursday that helps communities hit by natural disasters. The House is expected to quickly follow suit, and President Trump said he will sign the bill into law. Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss how much money the bill allocates to whom, plus the political dynamics between Trump and congressional Democrats.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    After a holdup that lasted for months, the U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly passed a funding bill to help communities hit by natural disasters. The vote was 85-8. The House is expected to quickly follow suit, and the president said today that he will sign it.

    The "NewsHour"'s White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, has been tracking the debate, and she joins me now.

    So, Yamiche, you have been following this. There's a lot in this bill. Give us a sense of what it is.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, this is a require bipartisan bill aimed at impacting areas and helping areas impact by natural disasters.

    So, to walk you through it, there's $19.1 billion in disaster relief. Now, that's for parts of the United States hit by hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. That money will go to places in the Southeast, Midwest, California, as well as some parts of the military for damaged bases.

    There's also $1.4 billion for Puerto Rico. Now, that's to help with the recovery from Hurricane Maria that hit the island in 2017. That was also a big sticking point for President Trump, who was against giving all this money to Puerto Rico.

    And it excludes the $4.5 billion for funding for the U.S.-Mexico border. That's another concession by President Trump, because he said he wanted to get immigration money in this bill. Today, of course, he said he was told that he's going to be able to get that immigration money in a separate bill.

    On timing, our Lisa Desjardins, of course, our Capitol Hill correspondent. She says that lawmakers think it's possible that this bill could be sent to the president as early as tomorrow afternoon.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, just yesterday, Yamiche, as you know, the president was saying that he wouldn't work with Democrats on anything as long as the House continues to investigate him.

    The war of words between the president and Speaker Pelosi escalated today.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Now, this time, another temper tantrum. Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.

    The White House is just crying out for impeachment. That's why he flipped yesterday.

  • Donald Trump:

    She said I walked into the room right next door yesterday, and walked in and started screaming and yelling. Just the opposite. Just the opposite.

    Crazy Nancy, I tell you what. I have been watching her, and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She's lost it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, a remarkable war of words, Yamiche.

    I mean, we have seen it before. This brings it to a new level. What does this mean?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, the attacks between President Trump and congressional Democrats just keep getting more and more personal.

    This disaster relief bill was done largely on Capitol Hill behind closed doors, with lawmakers on the Hill being able to talk to each other, the president making concessions.

    But when you go to the president and the Democrats, they are just at odds, and it's just getting worse and worse. The president is now, of course, using insults and is really going after Democrats, saying that they're bitter about 2016, that they really just want to impeach him.

    On the Democratic side, they are saying that he's acting unpresidential and that he's really not fit for the office. So the sources inside the White House and on Capitol Hill tell me this really just means that the gridlock in Washington could just get worse, which is, of course, in some ways unimaginable.

    But this is really going to be holding up all sorts of bills, including immigration, infrastructure, already long shots, but things are going to just get harder.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It has gotten very personal.

    Yamiche Alcindor, we thank you.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:


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