New York Republican Rep. Pete King is furious over the nearly 100 amendments tacked onto a $50 million emergency spending bill for Hurricane Sandy recovery, noting that many of them seek to offset the aid costs by cutting spending in domestic programs.
“Every dollar is needed. There have never been offsets before to emergency aid,” said King, who is leading a fight for the spending bill.
He said the additions have been made in spite of assurances from Republican House Speaker John Boehner's promises on Jan. 2 that the bill would get expedited treatment, reports The Hill
Boehner made the promises to King and other legislators from the hurricane-stricken Northeast, after pulling a $60.4 appropriations bill from the floor as the 112th Congress wound down. King, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and other Republicans have publicly denounced Boehner's actions, and House leaders in the new Congress split up the bill, passing a $9.7 billion flood insurance measure.
Today, a $17 billion bill, which includes a $34 billion amendment will come to the House floor. King said by Friday, a total of 92 amendments had been added to the bill, and he believes some of them will kill it.
New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, also complained Monday about the amendments.
“Instead of simply considering a clean measure, the majority has submitted over 45 amendments to the Rules Committee to cut, hinder or offset the aid found in this package,” Slaughter said. “Never in the modern history of the United States have victims of a natural disaster waited this long — 78 days and counting — to receive federal aid.”
Some of the amendments offset the new spending by enacting cuts to other programs, including across-the-board cuts to domestic programs, which King says Senators will refuse.
Despite the amendments, King said he thinks Democrats and Northeast Republicans can still pass the bill. But he noted there have never been offsets before for emergency aid.
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