Senate Appropriations Committee Offers Sandy Relief

Senate Democratic appropriators are planning to use the House-passed FY 13 Military Construction funding measure as a vehicle to provide $60.4 billion in emergency funds for Superstorm Sandy relief.  The measure, which will bypass Committee consideration, is expected to move directly to the Senate Floor next week.  Senate Republicans most likely will call for financial offsets for many of the expenditures.  It also remains to be seen whether the already tight Senate schedule will permit or prevent the legislation from seeing action.  If it does pass, the legislation must be returned to the House for consideration of the new relief language.

As part of the proposed Senate funding, HUD is slated to receive $17 billion for its CDBG program to assist displaced families and individuals without places to live, and FEMA would be provided $11.5 billion for its ongoing disaster relief efforts.  Additionally, the bill would provide $810 million to address concerns about “clean water programs” and $1 billion is allocated for flood control and coastal emergency programs.  Language is also included to direct the Corps of Engineers to rebuild certain projects in ways that preserve the “sustainability of the coastal ecosystem and communities, and reduce the economic costs and risks associated with large-scale flood and storm events” along the tri-state region’s coastline.  Other highlights in the Senate proposal include:

  • $500 million for the Disaster Loan Program account
  • $482 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • $348 million for the National Park Service (for construction)
  • $300 million for the Disaster Assistance Loan Program account
  • $274 million for the Coast Guard
  • $236 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • $125 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program
  • $78 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service
  • $58 million for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program
  • $50 million for the Historic Preservation Fund
  • $47 million for the Coastal and Estuarine Land Construction Program
  • $40 million for Navy operation and maintenance programs
  • $40 million for the Small Business Administration
  • $25 million for the Emergency Conservation Program
  • $8.5 million for Weather Forecasting Systems
  • $7 million for the General Services Administration’s Federal Buildings Fund
  • $3 million for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (for oil spill research)
  • $5 million for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund
  • $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution
  • $2 million for the Social Security Administration
  • $20,000 for the Justice Department inspector general