WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats next week may block legislation proposed by their Republican counterparts that would allocate billions of dollars for disaster recovery across the country, citing opposition from House Democrats and a push to add more aid to Puerto Rico’s slow efforts to recover from a pair of devastating hurricanes more than a year ago.
Democrats in the Senate have said they would support companion disaster aid legislation passed by House Democrats this year, but on Thursday lawmakers left Washington for the weekend with the issue of money for Puerto Rico still unresolved.
The impasse ahead of votes early next week has revived both a renewed legislative push to grant the island statehood — lawmakers introduced a measure on Thursday that would make Puerto Rico the 51st state — and criticism over President Trump’s stingy approach to the island’s recovery efforts.
“I’ve taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Thursday.
Mr. Trump has offered his support for the Senate disaster relief package in individual conversations with senators, Republican aides say, but he has long castigated the island and its officials for their handling of the recovery efforts.
“Why are we paying them $91 billion?” Mr. Trump asked in a closed Republican lunch on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the exchange and later confirmed by a lawmaker who was present. “For $91 billion, we can buy Puerto Rico four times over.”
It is not clear where the $91 billion figure came from.
Puerto Rican leaders have pushed back. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN on Thursday that “if the bully gets close, I’ll punch the bully in the mouth.”
And Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, told members in a closed lunch on Thursday that they needed to defend the island, which as a United States territory does not have voting representation, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
The measure would send about $14 billion in relief across a half-dozen states and territories. House lawmakers have warned that if the bill passes the Senate without more money for Puerto Rico, it will not make it through the lower chamber, and another round of negotiations would be needed before any relief could be disbursed.
Senate Democrats are pushing three alternatives: passing the House version of the bill, entering into bipartisan negotiations with the House or adding an amendment to the Senate measure that would allow more aid for Puerto Rico.
“The people of Puerto Rico are suffering,” Mr. Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor. “They have received a sliver of the funding they need. It’s hard to fathom the depths of cruelty that it takes for the president to treat the people of Puerto Rico this way.”
Despite the impasse, lawmakers voiced optimism that a resolution was still possible ahead of the votes, even as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, invoked procedural rules this week that would limit how amendments can be added to the legislation.
“We’re stalled right now,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “There are a lot of demands for Puerto Rico. We are trying to get over a few hurdles. I think we’ll get there, but we are not there yet.”
Mr. Shelby, who was standing near the elevators outside the Senate chamber, then linked arms with Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the committee’s ranking Democrat.
“If anyone can get it done, Dick and I will,” Mr. Leahy said.
Congress has failed to reach a consensus on disaster aid since December, when House members tried to use it as a sweetener to ease passage of legislation to keep the government open. That measure failed to pass the Senate because it also funded Mr. Trump’s border wall. While the House passed a disaster relief package in January, it was ultimately left off the bipartisan compromise measure that reopened the government and has not been taken up by the Senate.
The senators involved with the bill, including Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, have been working on it for close to six months, regularly speaking to Mr. Trump about it.
Republican aides familiar with the negotiations said that because the House legislation was passed in January, it does not have roughly $2 billion in aid for Midwestern states devastated by floods and tornadoes this month. And they believed that Democratic priorities — including about $610 million for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico — were accommodated in the bill. (A House Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations said that the measure could be amended to accommodate such a request.)
Senators who represent states still struggling to recover from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters are growing frustrated. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, railed on the Senate floor on Thursday about the “bureaucratic red tape” delaying funds for Texas.
Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida and a chief proponent of the bill, said, “I’m sick and tired of this.”
“They’re not using this because they care about Puerto Rico,” Mr. Scott said of the Democrats. “They’re using this to block the whole thing.”