House lawmakers secure vote on disaster aid bill

By Anthony Adragna | 05/17/2024 06:41 AM EDT

A successful discharge petition is forcing Speaker Mike Johnson’s hand on the legislation.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.).

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) launched a discharge petition for his disaster tax plan. Saul Loeb/AP

Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube has achieved a rare feat in modern congressional terms: forcing floor consideration of legislation — on this occasion, a bill he crafted that would provide tax relief for losses due to federally declared disasters.

He invoked a rarely successful procedural tool, the so-called discharge petition, to compel a floor vote on his legislation — “Federal Disaster Tax Relief Act,” H.R. 5863 — aimed at helping victims of hurricanes, wildfires and the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment.

The Florida Republican hit 218 signatories — a majority of the House — of supporters Wednesday, according to the chamber clerk.


Discharge petitions rarely succeed. The most recent one to hit the necessary number of signatures to force floor consideration concerned the Export-Import Bank, back in 2015. Steube called for the Senate to act swiftly once H.R. 5863 passes the House.