FEATURED:

Senators want Obama to request more disaster funding for Hurricane Sandy

Senators from states hit hard by Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday wrote to President Obama asking him to request increased disaster funding from Congress.

Such a request is seen as a necessary first step for any action from Congress to address Sandy's devastation.

ADVERTISEMENT
The members of the New York, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island delegations want Obama to request more disaster relief funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

They also call for “funding for critical disaster relief programs at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Economic Development Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Small Business Administration."

“The amendment should also include funding for damage to federal assets in our states and expenses for federal agencies, where appropriate,” the letter states.

FEMA’s disaster relief fund was stocked with $7.1 billion at the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. Under the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal, it can be given $5 billion more without needing to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere or tax increases. Higher funding could require a revision to the debt-ceiling deal's budget cap.

House Republicans have said that until the administration and FEMA requests more money, it is not appropriate to move a supplemental appropriations bill providing more funding.


The supplemental spending bill will have to originate in the House according to congressional rules.

A Senate Democratic appropriations staffer on Tuesday indicated more spending has the support of Senate Democrats once the House acts. 

"We recognize that the tragedy will require additional resources and we will plan to work with the Administration and all Members on meeting those needs once requirements have been determined," the staffer said.

The senators' letter doesn’t specify a funding level, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has sought $30 billion in disaster aid for his state alone. Total economic damage from Hurricane Sandy has been estimated to be as much as $50 billion, according to the monitoring group Eqecat.


The letter was signed by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (D-N.Y.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezJustice Dept intends to re-try Menendez in corruption case DACA is neither bipartisan nor in America's interest Senate DACA deal picks up GOP supporters MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAmerican women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Calls mount from Dems to give platform to Trump accusers  MORE (D-N.Y.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperTrump states would bear brunt of gas tax increase: conservative groups Trump talk riles advocates on both sides of gas tax Senate bill would let EPA implement global greenhouse gas deal MORE (D-Del.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsAfter Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Sunday shows preview: Russian charges, Florida shooting dominate coverage MORE (D-Del.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE III (D-W.Va.), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Raymond ReedFBI chief: Trump hasn't specifically directed me to stop Russian meddling in midterms Live coverage: FBI director testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee Senate Dems demand answers on cost of Trump's military parade proposal MORE (D-R.I.), and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseCommittee chairman aims for House vote on opioid bills by Memorial Day Regulators seek to remove barriers to electric grid storage Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections MORE (D-R.I.).

This story was updated at 4:18 p.m.