Analysis: Maryland Lawmakers Look To Bring In Federal Disaster Funds | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Analysis: Maryland Lawmakers Look To Bring In Federal Disaster Funds

Play associated audio

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are considering legislation to provide aid to areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.  The White House has requested about $60 billion for Sandy relief, but it's not clear exactly how much Congress will authorize. As Alex Bolton, senior staff writer for The Hill newspaper explains, some local lawmakers say they're working on securing federal funding for communities in our area that were hit by the storm.

Where exactly are lawmakers in negotiations for Sandy relief?

"The lawmakers taking the lead are Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and they're talking with federal officials to find out what kind of help Maryland can get. The areas hit hardest were lower Eastern Shore — the Crisfield, Md., area — as well as western Maryland, the Deep Creek Lake area... Right now, Cardin and Mikulski are trying to tap into pools of federal funding to pay for some of the damages. Cardin has been in talks with FEMA and the DHUD to talk about what can be done. Another possibility is to tap into the supplemental that President Obama has requested. But whether some of the supplemental funds will go to Maryland remains undecided."

How likely is it that some of this money would go to communities in our area?

"Maryland communities will certainly see federal funding, accordin to Cardin, who I spoke to today. Whether that comes from the supplemental or not, we'll see. The amount of federal funding lawmakers are seeking isn't that big, especially compared to New York and New Jersey, which suffered the brunt of the storm's damage. Those two states have asked for nearly $80 billion in relief alone. Maryland needs a lot less help, but it does need help. Maybe a couple billion dollars, but the numbers haven't been set yet."

How quickly do you expect lawmakers to move on this issue?

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reports today that moving the supplemental is one of the to priorities for the remaining weeks of the lame duck session. And there's only a couple weeks left in the lame duck session, so we'll see the supplemental move in the next few weeks. Lawmakers say they are happy with what the President asked of Congress. It wasn't everything they asked for — they wanted something closer to the $80 billion mark — but as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said today, three-quarters of a loaf is better than no loaf."

What else are local lawmakers doing to try to help areas that are still recovering from the storm?

"Right now, Sen. Mikulski is working to assess just how much money Maryland needs. She's meeting the governor to put the numbers together. Once she does that, she can make a more formal request of the administration."

NPR

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wilder's memoir reveals that she witnessed more violence than you'd ever know from her children's books. The South Dakota State Historical Society can barely keep up with demand for the autobiography.
NPR

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

The market for single-serving coffee pods is dominated by Keurig's K-Cups. But they aren't recyclable, and critics say that's making a monster of an environmental mess. Meet the K-Cup Godzilla.
NPR

Obama's Budget Would Undo Broad Cuts Made In 2013

The across-the-board spending cuts made in 2013, known as the sequester, reduced defense and domestic budgets by hundreds of millions each. Republicans are expected to fiercely defend that plan.
NPR

Charles Townes, Laser Inventor, Black Hole Discoverer, Dies At 99

Physicist Charles Townes died Tuesday. He was a key inventor of the laser and won the Nobel Prize for his discovery in 1964. But his career didn't end there.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.