On Friday, President Barack Obama requested that Congress authorize $60.4 billion to be used for post-Sandy recovery in the states hit by super-storm Sandy in late October.
According to NBC News, a House Democratic aide said that “even though it’s reasonable, we don’t expect Republicans to just hand it over. We’re going to have to fight for it.”
Some congressional Republicans have said that the money spent on recovering from the super-storm should be offset with spending cuts in other parts of the federal budget. Most Democrats, however, do not seek offsets.
Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., co-chairs of the bipartisan congressional task force on recovering from super-storm Sandy, are all for Obama’s request. In a joint statement, they said:
“While more may be needed in the long term, this robust package is a major first step that we will work to pass as quickly as possible in Congress to help devastated communities, families and businesses.”
On Thursday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D- N.Y. said that Congress should approve the post-Sandy recovery spending in a separate bill, not as part of the year-end “fiscal cliff” package which Obama and congressional leaders are negotiating.
Schumer told reporters:
“Disaster aid has never been part of any kind of deficit reduction plan…. It’s a one-time allocation and you don’t need it after that. We prefer to keep it separate and I think that’s the White House plan.”
At a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Robert Menendez, D- N.J. backed his state by saying that New Jersey supported other states when they were in need of recovering from natural disasters. Now that New Jersey is in desperate need of help, he believes New Jersey deserves the same consideration.
Menendez told HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan:
“When we had Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast in Mississippi and Alabama and Louisiana, I was there. When we had tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, I was there. When we had flooding along the Mississippi, I was there….. Because I believe this is the United States of America. So I fully expect that now that now for the first time we have the type of devastation that others have suffered and should understand that we’re going to have the type of response that others have received.”