House Scheduled To Take Up Sandy Aid Package Today

A few weeks ago 67 House Republicans voted against the $9.7 billion National Flood Insurance portion of the Sandy aid package, but it was passed into law. The House is now scheduled to take up today the remaining $50 billion part of the aid package for NJ, NY, and CT. Work on the bill may continue until tomorrow. The bill would next have to go to the Senate which is not in session until January 21.

According to WNYC, by late Friday 70 proposed amendments were filed to the bill, many of them generated by Tea Party Republicans who want to leverage the Sandy package to force cuts in unrelated discretionary spending. According to The Hill the Republican-led House Rules Committee late Monday approved a rule that shuts out most GOP proposals to pare back the size of the bill.

The main bill provides $17 billion in relief to rebuild infrastructure directly destroyed by Sandy and an amendment made would add another $33.7 billion to prepare for a future storm – for a total of $50.7 billion. Kerry Young in a Roll Call article predicts, “House conservatives are likely to be frustrated this week in the year’s first test of their drive to cut spending, with the chamber on a path to pass a major Superstorm Sandy recovery package.”

Roll Call indicates the House convenes today at 10 a.m. with a reading of the Constitution. The first votes are expected: 1:30-2 p.m.  You can view activity on the House Floor via C-Span.

The consequences of congressional action on this matter can not be over-estimated. As the Star-Ledger reported on a Rutgers University study, “With an infusion of roughly $25 billion for recovery efforts due to Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey’s economy will fare slightly better in the future than if the storm had never hit the state. But if those funds are not released, New Jersey faces significant financial consequences.” Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson told MSNBC his town had already borrowed money to get repairs underway assuming the Federal aid would come through.”We in Asbury Park are already ten million dollars in the deep. We can’t wait for leadership from Washington. The summer season is our bread and butter.”

This is an open thread.

Comments (11)

  1. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Reps. Smith and Pallone just spoken as have opponents.  An initial vote is still scheduled for 1:30.  

  2. Bill Orr (Post author)

    which removes most amendments, but leaves about 12 remaining. Upcoming votes: The first $17 billion part of the bill seems assured of passage, but the second $33.7 billion, sponsored by Rep. Frelinghuysen, will have substantial Republican opponents and need Democratic support. The whole process may well not be completed today.

    Delays and attempts of Republicans to cut the aid and add  off-sets are among the House obstructionist tactics.

    It will be interesting to find out how loner Rep. Garrett will vote on the two key bills.  

  3. deciminyan

    Alicia D’Alessandro happens to be the Communications Director for the State Democratic Party, but more significantly, her home was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

    I agree with her sentiment wholeheartedly.

  4. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Earlier this afternoon the vote to consider the Sandy bill was 367: Yes and 52: No.  Garrett did not vote on the bill. All other NJ congressmen voted Yes.  

  5. Bill Orr (Post author)

    An amendment that would create partial off-setting across-the- board cuts to defense and all other areas was fortunately defeated with 258 No votes.

    There are about 12 more amendments to be considered, including the last key one which adds $33.7 billion to the basic $17 billion bill.  

  6. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Yes: 327 No: 91.

    House is now taking up the key $33.7 billion portion and will vote shortly.  Sponsored by Rep. Frelinghuysen.  

  7. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Amendments are moving quickly and we may have final vote around 6:45 PM this evening. No bad amendment has yet passed.  

  8. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Only 39 Republicans (presumably those from CT, NJ and NY) voted for it, whereas all Democrats but two voted for it assuring its passage.

    A final vote on the entire biil and its amendments is now taking place.

  9. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Only 49 Republicans voted in favor of the entire bill but all but one Democrat voted in support, assuring its passage. There were minor amendments added.

    Once the House Clerk posts the roll call we will know individual congressmen’s votes.

    Since only a small minority of Republicans were in support, House Republican leadership would normally not bring such a bill to a floor vote. Obviously there was pressure to do so, and it’s apparent that bills can be passed in the House when leadership brings bills to the floor allowing Democrats to vote.  

  10. Bill Orr (Post author)

    In the vote for final passage of the entire bill all members of the NJ congressional contingent voted YES, including Rep Garrett (CD 5) who had voted against Katrina aid and expressed reservations about the Sandy bill. A pleasant surprise, but nowhere near enough to ever get my vote.  

    Our legislators – both Republicans and Democrats – did us proud in their outspoken advocacy, speeches on the floor and their votes.  

  11. Rosi Efthim

    Agree – and we retweeted that a couple hours ago.

    Another that we RT’d  – from @SCJoson:

    RT @SCJoson NY & NJ r both Maker states which repeatedly bailed out Taker states after natural disasters.Objectors have a seat! #SandyRelief


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