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Published On: Wed, Jan 16th, 2013

House passes $51 billion Sandy Relief bill, includes pork for Amtrak, NOAA and the FBI

A measure providing $51 billion for relief and recovery from Hurricane Sandy was approved in the House on Tuesday evening, three weeks after Northeast Republicans excoriated the chamber’s GOP leaders for failing to vote on storm aid before the end of the last Congress.

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Photo/donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

An amendment to the relief package introduced by Tea Party-allied conservatives requiring across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic programs to pay for $17 billion of storm aid was supported by a majority of Republicans, but was defeated 258-162 with a combination of GOP and Democratic votes.

The full $51 billion relief bill passed the House 241-180, with 179 Republicans opposed.

The relief measure provides billions of dollars to repair flood-damaged transit systems in New York and New Jersey, and $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund, which provides cash grants directly to storm victims. Tens of billions of dollars are also allocated for long-term flood control and recovery projects.

“There’s clearly a federal responsibility to act,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). “We have a national interest in getting this region on its feet as quickly as possible.”

The package, which includes a $17 billion main bill and a $34 billion amendment, would pump cash into the National Flood Insurance Program to keep paying out claims for Sandy victims. But it also includes billions of dollars for a litany of non-Sandy related items, such as Amtrak upgrades, FBI salaries, road projects in states unaffected by the storm and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An analysis by the independent federal budget watchdog shows the package includes non-emergency items such as:

• $25 million to improve weather and hurricane intensity forecasting

• $118 million for Amtrak for Northeast Corridor upgrades

• $10 million for FBI salaries and expenses

• $2 billion for the Federal Highway Administration to spend on roads across the country

• $16 billion for the Community Development Fund that would go not only to Sandy-affected states, but to any major disaster declarations since 2011.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Rand Paul to Chris Christie and Peter King: ‘gimme, gimme, gimme — give me all my Sandy money now’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] year, the Congress passed a law providing over $50 billion in “Hurricane Sandy relief”. However, as previously reported, it included tens of billions in pork to include money for Amtrak, FBI salaries and money for roads […]

  2. charles kincaid says:

    Since this bill has money for Amtrak, and we’re talking North East Corridor, how can you, in you right mind, suggest that any money or Antrak is pork? Get real!

    Charles Hubble Kincade (it rhymes with ‘bubble’)

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