Senate rejects Coburn amendments to pare back Sandy bill costs

"All this does is restore it back to what we've had traditionally," Coburn said just before the vote. "[P]rojects that shouldn't get funded won't get funded when we have this kind of ratio."

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But Democrats and others opposed it as language that would make it harder for states to pay for disaster-related cleanup efforts.

"This amendment, if passed, would not allow the Sandy states or future states to protect themselves against the future disasters," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said before the vote.

The Senate also voted 35-60 against Coburn's proposal to strip the bill of disaster funding for fisheries located 50 miles outside disaster areas.

Additionally, the Senate voted 40-55 against Coburn's language requiring an update of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Per-Capita Damage Indicator, a tool it uses to assess whether a disaster should be declared.

Coburn argues that FEMA's failure to update this indicator for inflation for the last several years could make it harder to declare disaster areas in more populated states.

The Senate took a break for caucus lunches immediately after the Coburn votes, and was expected to resume work at 2 p.m. on more amendments to the bill, H.R. 1.