July 29, 2014

Senate Republicans slash Sandy relief, call it “slush”

NYU auditorium

Republicans in the U. S. Senate have countered the White House’s $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief proposal with a plan that would only give $23.8 billion, far short of the $82 billion that the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut requested.

Republicans say the package is only meant to cover immediate needs through March, and they’ll consider providing more funding for projects the consider less pressing — such as preventing subway flooding and protecting shorelines during future storms — in the coming months. “We don’t have time right now to get all the way through and analyze the actual losses that were attributable to Sandy,” said Republican senator James Inhofe, adding that the White House proposal looks like a “slush fund.” (h/t NY Mag)

Lawmakers from affected states worry that their states’ needs will be forgotten in the press of legislation, and it’s hard to start on large scale rebuilding projects without adequate funding. Recently FEMA granted NYU Langone $114 million for reconstruction efforts, out of the estimated $1 billion that it will cost. The photo above is the waterlogged NYU basement auditorium where I’ve sat a few times in my life for special occasions like graduation ceremonies. The NYU hospitals are still closed, except for outpatient activities. And hopefully a good portion of the cleanup funds go to Bellevue, the city’s only public hospital, because they do God’s work.

Also, it’s important to fund mitigation efforts to prevent subway flooding and protect shorelines. The Hoboken NJ PATH stop just reopened yesterday.

Seriously, I mean the Democratic Governor of NYS and the Republican Governor of NJ are working together to get the job done without competing for funds. Why can’t Congress do the same?

–Caroline

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