January 29, 2013
RE: U.S. Senate Passes Sandy Funding Bill
After voting down (32-65) an amendment sponsored by Senators Mike Lee, Pat Toomey and others, the Senate voted 62-36 in favor of H.R. 152, the $50.5 billion Sandy Emergency Funding bill. The bill now goes to President Obama, who has stated that he will “ …sign this bill into law as soon as it hits my desk.”
As indicated in our January 25 letter (http://www.njslom.org/letters/2013-0125-Sandy-Update.html), Senator Lee’s amendment would have offset the emergency funding with rescissions and cuts to discretionary programs. Under Senate supermajority vote requirements, both the amendment and the final bill needed 60 votes in the affirmative to pass.
Sandy was responsible for the deaths of 34 in our State. 346,000 New Jersey housing units were damaged or destroyed, with 22,000 rendered uninhabitable. Over 235,000 New Jerseyans have registered with FEMA for individual assistance. About 100,000 storm related unemployment claims have been filed. An estimated 75% of New Jersey’s small businesses were adversely affected, about 19,000 of which sustained damages valued at $250,000 or more. 51 schools sustained serious damage, six of which will not reopen this year. Estimated damage to transit, roads and bridges in our State will exceed $2.5 billion. Water, waste water and sewer repair costs will come to about $3 billion. Power and gas line repairs will run about $1 billion. And Sandy’s impact on local budgets is yet to be determined.
We want to thank Senators Menendez and Lautenberg for their leadership on this. We will keep you posted on further developments. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at
609-695-3481, ext. 121.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.