WASHINGTON (AP) - Northeastern lawmakers from both parties are pushing for approval of more than $50 billion in relief to victims of Superstorm Sandy, as the House nears a vote later today.
Republican congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey told colleagues, "We are not crying wolf here."
Democrat Carolyn Maloney of New York said Congress shouldn't have a "double standard" when it comes to providing storm relief. She says aid went quickly to Southern states after tornadoes and hurricanes -- but when the Northeast needs help from the second-worst storm in the nation's history, she says the response has been "delay, delay, delay."
Sandy has been blamed for 140 deaths and billions of dollars in residential and business property damage -- much of it in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The Senate approved a $60 billion measure in the final days of the last Congress, and a House vote had been expected quickly. But Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) unexpectedly postponed the vote in the last hours of the expiring Congress, amid conservative anger over a separate measure raising tax rates on the wealthy.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A series of votes is expected this afternoon in the House on a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package.
A base $17 billion bill is aimed at immediate Sandy recovery needs while Northeast lawmakers are also looking to add to that with an amendment by New Jersey Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen for an additional $33.7 billion.
Fiscal conservatives are seeking offsetting spending cuts to pay for the recovery efforts. They're also pushing to strip the package of funding for projects they say are unrelated to the October storm.
House Democrats met privately this morning, with lawmakers emerging from the session saying they were urged to support the package despite its imperfections. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland says he expects the full package to get enough Republican support to clear the House.
Copyright © 2013 Associated Press
Flickr: New Jersey National Guard (The National Guard)
It's going to be long day as we attempt to defeat amendments that could kill Sandy aid bill. We should have the votes: house.gov/apps/list/speeâ€¦— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) January 15, 2013