This week Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ) voted to approve a $50.4 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package that will help New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut families and businesses bounce back from our nation's most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina. Today's effort --which was made up of two separate bills -- adds to the $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds that were enacted on January 6.
The $50.4 billion relief package was considered in two separate parts and passed the House with bipartisan support. The first piece -- known as the Rogers substitute to H.R. 152 -- provides $17 billion toward disaster recovery. The second piece, an amendment by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, adds an additional $33.4 billion to the Rogers substitute and brings the total in disaster recover to just over $60 billion. Congressman Andrews strongly supported each of these measures, while opposing a number of roadblocks geared to strip funds from the recovery and direct money to projects that are unrelated to Sandy.
Speaking on the House floor in favor of the relief package, Congressman Andrews stressed that the legislation directs only "necessary funds related to the consequences of Sandy" with one exception -- a portion of the funds will be devoted to prior disasters that have yet to be cleaned up.
"This is an occasion for the House of Representatives to rise above normal parochial politics and walk in the shoes of the people of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut," said Rep. Andrews. "If we understand that we have a common purpose and focus on Sandy and other disasters we can come together to help communities rebound, grow jobs, and get on their feet again. I am proud that New Jersey Democrats and Republicans stood together with our Governor for rebuilding the lives of our neighbors and the strength of our state's economy."
Below are key components of the $17 billion Rogers substitute:
* $5.4 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund
* $5.4 billion for Federal Transit Administration
* $3.9 billion for Community Development Block Grants
* $1.35 billion for the Corps of Engineers
* $150 million for SBA disaster loans
* $25 million for Social Services Block Grant
* $32 million for Amtrak
The Frelinghuysen amendment adds a much-needed $33.4 billion to the above totals. Below are key components of the Frelinghuysen amendment:
* $13 billion in mitigation funds, such as $5.5 billion for Federal Transit Administration mitigation funds, $3.5 billion for Corps of Engineers mitigation funds, and $600 million in mitigation funds for EPA state infrastructure grants and loans for Drinking Water and Wastewater treatment needs.
* Adds $12.1 billion for Community Development Block Grants, bringing the total CDBG funds to $16 billion.
* Adds $6.1 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, bringing the total funding to $11.5 billion.
* Adds $630 million for SBA disaster loans, bringing the total funding to $780 million.
* Adds $475 million for the Social Services Block Grant, bringing the total funding to $500 million.
* Adds $86 million for Amtrak, bringing the total funding to $118 million.