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Senate passes long-overdue disaster relief bill
Pecan trees
Pecan trees lie damaged by Hurricane Michael on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, at Pecan Ridge Plantation in Bainbridge. - photo by Associated Press, FCN regional staff

The Senate has passed a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid bill to help to a number of states and Puerto Rico recover after a series of hurricanes, floods and wildfires.

The widely-backed legislation passed by an 85-8 vote.

Republican leaders agreed to a demand by Democrats to toss out President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion request to address a record influx of Central American migrants who are fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere and coming to the United States.

Trump says he’ll sign the measure and is promising that the U.S-Mexico border money he wants will pass soon.

The disaster relief bill was most eagerly sought by Trump’s GOP allies in states such as Georgia, Florida, Iowa and Nebraska. But the bill was held up for months, first by a battle over aid for Puerto Rico and then by failed negotiations on border aid.