Friday, January 18, 2013

Labrador, Simpson Say 'No' to Hurricane Sandy Relief

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Idaho Republican Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson couldn't muster a "yes" vote when their Northeast colleagues needed them the most.

Labrador and Simpson thumbed their noses at a bill designed to provide billions to Hurricane Sandy victims.

Despite Labrador's, Simpson's and 178 other "no" votes, the House passed the $50 billion final bill. The $50 billion comes on top of $9.7 billion Congress approved on Jan. 4 to help pay flood insurance claims related to the October storm.

All but one of the "no" votes came from Republicans, who said the legislation was too expensive.

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve the measure with little debate.

The $50.5 billion bill passed by the House includes $16 billion in Community Development Block Grant money critical for rebuilding, $10.9 billion for public transportation projects, and $13 billion to safeguard the Northeast against another storm.

It also includes $11.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund, $780 million for Small Business Administration disaster loans, and $118 million for Amtrak.

Sandy killed more than 100 people in 10 states—41 in New York City alone—and wiped out entire communities in coastal New York and New Jersey. It also paralyzed mass transit systems and left tens of thousands of people homeless. Power was cut to more than 8 million homes.

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