King: Sandy relief funds are in danger

House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Saturday there is a possibility that federal aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy may not pass by year’s end.

Citing strong opposition among colleagues to a supplemental spending bill, King warned that Congress may not approve Sandy relief funds if it fails to act this week.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Doing all I can, but if Congress doesn’t approve Sandy aid for NY before Christmas, I don’t think it’ll get done. Too many oppose it in DC,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter Saturday.

King is stepping down as the Homeland Security panel’s chairman and will be replaced by Texas Rep. Michael McCaul (R).

King’s district on Long Island was hit hard by the storm. Massapequa Park, where his district office is located, was flooded by a six-foot storm surge.

The White House has asked Congress to pass a $60.4 billion emergency spending bill to pay for the damage to New York, New Jersey and other affected areas. It’s substantially less than the more than $80 billion in assistance requested by those states.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has assembled a relief package, but conservatives in the House have balked. They are demanding spending cuts to offset its cost.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) delivered an impassioned plea for the funds last week, arguing the damage from Sandy was worse than the havoc Hurricane Katrina wreaked on New Orleans in 2005. He said New York has in the past supported disaster funds for other parts of the country and now expects help in return.

“I've been concerned to see some reservations expressed by some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and many of these concerns are myths,” Schumer said Thursday.

He said the Senate would begin to debate emergency spending legislation on Monday.

King said last month that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had committed to moving an emergency relief package without offsets but in recent days the speaker and other GOP leaders have kept a low profile on the issue.

More in Blog Briefing Room

King: Sydney calls for 'heavy surveillance'

Read more »