Politics

House approves disaster relief for California and hurricane victims

File: Flames advance on a two story home off Shepard Mesa Road at 5:45 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 during the Thomas Fire.
File: Flames advance on a two story home off Shepard Mesa Road at 5:45 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 during the Thomas Fire.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Twitter

The House has passed an $81 billion disaster aid measure that nearly doubles President Donald Trump's most recent request for hurricane-hit Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, along with regions of California ravaged by recent wildfires.

The 251-169 vote on Thursday sends the measure to the Senate, where changes await and a vote isn't likely until next month.

The massive measure brings the total approved this year for disaster aid to more than $130 billion. Even more is possible, especially for Puerto Rico, where many areas are still without electricity months after Maria struck the island.

Many Democrats opposed the bill, pressing for greater help for Puerto Rico and hoping to leverage their votes on the measure into victories elsewhere on the year-end agenda.