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House Plans to Vote on Sandy Aid in 2 Pieces

2:16 PM, Jan 1, 2013   |    comments
e tunnel under West Street at the Battery in NYC is completely flooded to the top. Photo by Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY staff
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By BRIAN TUMULTY, Gannett Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - The Senate-passed $60.4 billion bill to aid Superstorm Sandy victims would be separated into two pieces under a proposal the House Appropriations Committee released Tuesday.

A House vote on the proposal is expected later.

Republican Rep. Harold Rogers of Kentucky, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, released a statement saying the recovery effort will "take months and years, not days and weeks.''

"To this end, the legislation released today will provide the aid needed for immediate relief, while also beginning the process of meeting long-term recovery needs,'' Rogers said.

The basic bill would provide $27 billion to cover immediate costs through the end of March, mirroring a Republican alternative that failed in the Senate.

The remaining $33 billion in aid would require a separate House vote for passage, creating the possibility some lawmakers who vote for the first piece would oppose the second part.

Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop of Long Island said he expects both parts of the package to pass, with 30-40 Republicans supporting the second part.

The basic bill includes $9.7 billion in new borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program to pay claims, $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund, $5.4 billion for regional transit agencies, $3.9 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Fund and $1.35 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Not included in the base bill is funding for work to protect states from future storms or funding for HUD's Community Development Block Grant program.

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