The House today passed an amendment, offered by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), which added $33 billion to the Hurricane Sandy Emergency Relief Appropriations bill. When combined with another $17 billion amendment offered by Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (KY), the Frelinghuysen amendment brings the Sandy emergency assistance approved to approximately $50 billion. An initial $9.7 billion was approved to re-fund the National Flood Insurance Program more than a week ago.
"For reasons beyond our control, the House got a late start on providing assistance to the storm-ravaged states of New Jersey, New York and others in the Northeast. But today's vote provides a strong step toward getting this vital funding flowing."
In late 2012, the Senate passed its own version of the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Emergency Assistance legislation. However, the legislation lapsed with the end of the 112th Congress in early January.
"I urge the Senate to act quickly," Frelinghuysen said. "78 days after Sandy devastated the Northeast, our people are hurting and further delay will only lead to more misery, more uncertainty, more unemployment and put the region's long-term recovery at risk."
The vote on the Frelinghuysen amendment was 228-192.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen represents New Jersey's 11th Congressional District and serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
Further quotes attributable to Rep. Frelinghuysen:
"Time is of the essence, we strongly prefer that the Senate take up this legislation quickly, pass it and send it on to the President for his signature. Failing that, the Senate must be mindful that further delay will only lead to more misery, more uncertainty, more unemployment and put the region's long-term recovery at risk."
Building the coalition to approve $60 billion in assistance to New Jersey and the Northeast:
"I am proud of the way our bipartisan New Jersey and New York delegations came together and worked methodically and tirelessly to brief our colleagues on need for the bill and the specific provisions in the measure. Leaving nothing to chance, I personally called and spoke to over one hundred House Members over the last few weeks."
What was your "pitch" to Republican Members?
"I reminded my Colleagues of the proud tradition of the Congress: whenever a crisis or natural disaster has hit any part of the nation, the House and the Senate have responded and approved emergency assistance in a timely manner. Elected representatives from regions not affected by the flood or the tornado or the earthquake or the drought or the wildfire have always stepped forward to help their fellow Americans in need. We put together a responsible bill. It's time for them to step up and support it."
Charges of "pork" in the amendment:
"People claiming that this measure is filled with "pork' must be reading from an old script. It is simply not accurate. The Appropriations Committee scrubbed the President's request and the Senate-passed bill. We removed all Senate "earmarks' and authorizing language. The spending in this legislation is either connected to the Hurricane Sandy recovery or is disaster-related."
Thanks for those who worked for hard for House passage:
"Chairman Rogers and the Appropriations Committee deserve our thanks. One of the untold chapters of this post-Sandy story has been the hard-work of the Chairman and his staff in preparing both his amendment and mine."
"My House colleagues from New Jersey and New York showed bipartisan diligence and dedication over the past several weeks and our constituents can be justifiably proud.
"We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Governor Christie, my constituent from Morris County, whose tireless work has helped us get to this day and will help us get this bill across the "finish line.'"