NPR : News

Filed Under:

House Set For 'Marathon Debate' On Sandy Aid; Final Vote Likely Tonight

The "bipartisan outrage" of earlier this month over a delayed vote on aid for those whose homes and businesses were destroyed by last fall's Superstorm Sandy led House Speaker John Boehner to agree on a plan to pass the package in two chunks.

Chunk one, worth about $9.7 billion, was OK'd by the House and signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 6.

Today, the much larger second chunk is before the House. But if you thought there wouldn't be any debate, think again. Lawmakers will be considering "16 new amendments to two separate spending bills, with a litany of revisions and details, determining the way a possible $50 billion in Hurricane Sandy money could be spent — or not spent," as New Jersey's Star-Ledger writes.

As our colleague Alan Greenblatt writes, the package is expected to pass today. For most lawmakers, he reports, "it's proven to be too politically dicey to vote against assistance for regions devastated by disaster."

But, as we said, there will be debate. Time magazine's Swampland blog notes that the legislation is:

"A case study in how an unassailable cause can be overshadowed by the competing priorities and pet projects of 535 fractious lawmakers. In the two years since the House ban on earmarks was enacted, the cost of spending projects steered to specific districts has plummeted, but lawmakers have mastered tricks to preserve pork barrel spending, including the stealth art of tucking extraneous provisions into emergency legislation. The practice was exemplified by the fiscal cliff deal shoehorned through Congress on New Year's Day, which preserved a bundle of expiring corporate tax credits and subsidies for Nascar racetracks, rum distillers, algae growers and Hollywood producers.

"The $60 billion Sandy aid package that passed the Senate on Dec. 29 faced similar criticism. The bill contained billions unrelated to the damage wrought by the hurricane, according to an analysis by the independent watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, including provisions like $150 million for fisheries as far away as Alaska or $821 million for harbor dredging that could benefit Mississippi River towns like St. Louis."

We'll watch to see how the debate goes and what happens when a final vote, presumably, is taken tonight.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Kids Love To Be Scared': Louis Sachar On Balancing Fun And Fear

The award-winning author of Holes has just published a new novel for young readers, called Fuzzy Mud. It mixes middle-school social puzzles with a more sinister mystery: a rogue biotech threat.
NPR

Confronting A Shortage Of Eggs, Bakers Get Creative With Replacements

Eggs are becoming more expensive and scarce recently because so many chickens have died from avian flu. So bakers, in particular, are looking for cheaper ingredients that can work just as well.
WAMU 88.5

How Artificial Intelligence And Robots Will Impact Jobs And How We Think About Work

Many experts say artificial intelligence and robots will displace jobs at a faster and faster pace over the coming decade. What changes in technology could mean for how we work.

WAMU 88.5

How Artificial Intelligence And Robots Will Impact Jobs And How We Think About Work

Many experts say artificial intelligence and robots will displace jobs at a faster and faster pace over the coming decade. What changes in technology could mean for how we work.

Leave a Comment

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