Lawmakers battle over $5.7 billion disaster relief, summer jobs measure

Democratic Rep. Earl Perlmutter (Colo.) countered by chiding Republicans for their economic policies during the Bush administration. "You get a financial disaster" when taxes are cut for the wealthiest Americans, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't paid for and there's a lack of regulation of the financial markets and firms. "We saw that cause the loss of millions of jobs in 2008. We need to reverse that and that's precisely what's happening." 

What we want to do is get those Americans back to work who lost their jobs and that's what this bill is about," he said on the floor.

The measure rescinds about $112 million from the Commerce Department's program that provided funds for households to buy analog-to-digital signal convertor boxes; $44 million for the Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program; nearly $362 million in stimulus funds for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program; and $103 million from the Agriculture Department's rural development programs. 

The proposed bill includes $600 million for summer jobs programs to help those ages 16 to 24, supporting about 300,000 jobs, according to the House Appropriations Committee. 

The package also includes $60 million to extend a small business loan program for an additional month, eliminating fees on loans through the Small Business Administration. 

The measure includes a $5.1 billion relief fund for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has about $2 billion in projects on hold because of lack of funds. The money goes toward fixing infrastructure damaged by winter storms and devotes funds for storm preparation.