The Obama administration's request for $60 billion in relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy is being criticized by some Republicans in Congress because it contains funding for questionable programs and items, according to a report by ABC News
The request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has yet to be approved by Congress and some lawmakers want to put off a vote on the measure until early next year to allow more time to consider what the aid package actually contains, ABC reported Thursday.
Among the items questioned in the aid package: $50 billion for Small Business and Women Business Development centers; $2 million to repair roof damage at the Smithsonian buildings in Washington that predate the hurricane in October; $4 million for the FBI to replace vehicles and office equipment; $4 million for dune repair at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; and $23 million to plant trees in areas affected by Sandy to "help reduce flood effects, protect water sources, decrease soil erosion, and improve wildlife habitat."
"These line items, and dozens more like them, have some Republicans balking at the size of the relief request and calling for more time to review the deal," ABC reported on its website. "The $60 billion price tag, they say, represents nearly the entire amount of additional revenue the government would collect next year by raising rates on the top 2 percent of taxpayers, as Democrats desire.
"They also point out that FEMA still has $5 billion in its Disaster Relief Fund — enough to last until March," the report continued. "Therefore, they see no reason to rush through a bill so large with no hearings or negotiations on the size of the bill or how to pay for it."
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