The Hurricane Sandy Relief Package: An Update
On Jan. 28, the Senate approved a $50.5 billion relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The bill was passed by a vote of 62-36. The bill is generally designated as emergency spending and is not paid for.
Prior to receiving approval in the Senate, the Senate rejected Utah Senator Mike Lee’s proposed amendment that called for equal or offsetting cuts in both government spending and appropriations. Some Republicans have been critical of the bill because the majority of spending is not going to be used for immediate disaster relief. For example, some have been critical of some of the funding in this measure such as the $2 million to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Next, the bill moves to the president where it is expected to be signed into law. As we look ahead toward March, it will be necessary to see how this disaster relief bill adds to the debate over the scheduled budget sequester and the expiring continuing resolution.