(Below is an excerpt, read the full article here)
BY CELESTE KATZ | DECEMBER 17, 2012
Even as the nation mourns the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, with the first slain children, six-year-olds Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, being laid to rest today, an untold number of people are still struggling with Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
Earlier, the federal Office of Management and Budget came out with a statement of the Obama Administration’s support for Senate passage of H.R. 1, which would add funds for Sandy recovery aid to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. “The amendment ensures urgent and essential needs are being met, while recognizing the need to prevent losses of this magnitude from future disasters. Further, it ensures that funds are invested wisely to improve communities’ long-term resilience and protect against waste, fraud, and abuse,” the administration said in the statement, which appears in full below.
“Given the emergency and one-time nature of this supplemental appropriation, and in keeping with the response to Hurricane Katrina, Deepwater Horizon, and other disasters, the Administration supports the decision to not offset these funds. The Administration remains committed to balanced deficit reduction, and it believes both parties can come together to achieve that, while ensuring communities affected by Hurricane Sandy have the support they need to recover.”
President Obama has recommended Congress approve about $60.4 billion to states slammed by Sandy, far less than local leaders — including the governors of New York and New Jersey — requested.
The Senate took up the matter on the floor today.
As an AP story noted, “Several Republicans say they’re sympathetic to Sandy victims, but they favor a smaller aid package for the moment and suggest cutting other federal programs to pay for parts of it. They say some measures in the bill — including money for salmon fisheries in Alaska, new government care and an Amtrak expansion project — smack more of congressional pork than disaster aid.”
To bolster support for more federal funding, members of local grassroots groups including United NY, New York Communities for Change, La Fuente, MoveOn.org, Strong Economy for All, Citizen Action and VOCAL-NY are headed to Washington Tuesday to lobby Republican members of New York’s Congressional delegation, including Reps. Michael Grimm, Nan Hayworth and Pete King.
The groups are also pressing the lawmakers to end tax cuts for the wealthy as part of the approach to addressing the fiscal cliff negotiations. Obama and House Speaker John Boehner today met at the White House to talk, giving a bit of hope that an agreement will be reached.