An in-depth look at the “Hurricane Sandy Relief” bill

| December 18, 2012 | Comments

 

File:ISS-33 Hurricane Sandy.jpg

 

On Dec, 7 2012, President Obama requested the following:

The Obama administration  requested $60.4 billion from Congress to pay for disaster aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  The amount of the proposed aid package however,  is lower than the $82 billion asked for by the three hardest-hit states.  However, it still ranks as the third-largest disaster-relief request ever behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks and Hurricane Katrina.  Congressional delegations from the effected states welcomed the money, saying they would try to pick up the rest in additional spending bills down the road.  The figure was also higher than the $55 billion ceiling that the White House indicated earlier in the week. Senators from the states met with White House budget officials on Thursday to try to boost the numbers.  Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Chris Christie also lobbied actively in DC to try to get as much funding as possible  and they all viewed the current request as a good start in the rebuilding effort.

The following chart from the NY Post, breaks down where most of the funding would go to.

AGRICULTURE CHAPTER:

The Emergency Conservation Program provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures.  
Emergency Forest Restoration:

$58.855 million The Emergency Forest Restoration Program provides funding to carry out emergency measures to restore nonindustrial private forest land damaged by a natural disaster. 

Emergency Watershed Protection:

  • $125.055 million The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program provides financial and technical assistance to undertake emergency measures to safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood or any other natural occurrence is causing or has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed.
  • Emergency Food Assistance: $15 million The Emergency Food Assistance Program provides USDA commodities to food banks throughout the country in order to provide nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and communities in need. COMMERCE.

JUSTICE, SCIENCE CHAPTER: $513 million

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): $482 million $57 million for NOAA to locate, map, identify, track and clean up marine debris.  
Department of Justice (DOJ):

  • $15.25 million $15.25 million to repair DOJ facilities and replace equipment damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  These funds include: $4 million for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), $1 million for the Drug Enforcement Administration, $230,000 for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and $20,000 for the DOJ Inspector General. 
  • National Aeronautics and Space Admin. (NASA): $15 million Funds are provided to repair NASA facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  
  • Legal Services Corporation (LSC): $1 million Funds are provided for technology and disaster coordinators to assist low-income clients eligible for legal aid in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

 

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Image credit: Vicpeters

 

DEFENSE CHAPTER:

Department of Defense: $88.3 million

The recommendation funds 362 projects to repair damaged facilities and utilities, replace lost equipment, and remove debris in Department of Defense locations directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The projects range in size from $22 million to restore the pier complex at Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey to multiple projects under $10,000 to repair damages sustained from water and high winds .

ENERGY AND WATER CHAPTER:

Corps of Engineers: $5.350 billion

Disaster Recovery

  • $1.008 billion for Flood Control and Coastal Emergency needs to restore projects to their design profiles rather than the pre-storm condition.
  • $821 million for Operation & Maintenance needs.
  • $9 million in Construction to repair damages to projects that were under construction at the time of Sandy : $1.838 billion.
  • Mitigation: $3.512 billion $3.452 billion for Construction needs.
  • $50 million for Investigations to conduct studies.  

FINANCIAL SERVICES AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT CHAPTER

 

Small Business Administration: $812 million $812 million is included to support the Small Business Administration’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Of the total amount for SBA, $760 million is provided for the disaster loan program to support lending to individuals suffering residential physical damage, to businesses of all sizes suffering physical damage, and to small businesses suffering economic injury.  An additional $5 million is provided for the Office of Inspector General to conduct oversight on the disaster loan program. For business redevelopment, $20 million is provided for grants to SBA’s partners (such as Small Business Development Centers) to provide immediate technical assistance for restarting businesses and for longer-term redevelopment counseling, and $20 million is provided for grants to states and local economic development entities for long-term redevelopment initiatives, including for regional business "clusters."

General Services Administration: $7 million $7 million is included to fund emergency repairs to federal buildings in New York and New Jersey impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The request consists of 24 projects at 12 facilities, including window replacement, roof repair, addressing water intrusion and drainage issues, build-out of space for displaced tenants, and repair of damage to mechanical and electrical building systems.  

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Image credit: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

 

HOMELAND SECURITY CHAPTER:

Department of Homeland Security: $21.8 billion

Federal Emergency Management Agency:  

  • $300 million to subsidize Community Disaster Loans for local government operating expenses to prevent a cash flow problem for disaster response and recovery; and 
    An increase of $9.7 billion in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) borrowing authority (FEMA is expected to exhaust current borrowing authority by January 7, 2013) $11.5 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund to support disaster response and recovery needs. 
  • United States Coast Guard: $274.2 million Rebuilds and restores facilities and property damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Of the 38 shore facility locations in the states of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, 23 sustained damage.
  • Customs and Border Protection: $1.7 million Replaces 18 law enforcement vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy, including 4 mobile x-ray machines, and replenishes supplies (including generators) and damaged information technology equipment  
    Immigration and Customs Enforcement: $855,000 Replaces 40 law enforcement vehicles that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy at various locations in New York and New Jersey  
    United States Secret Service: $300,000 Replaces 8 damaged law enforcement vehicles and the radio communications equipment in each vehicle. 
  • Science and Technology: $3.3 million
  • Repairs work to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. The Center’s support facilities sustained damage from Hurricane Sandy, including: beach erosion and a major undersea power cable.  
    Domestic Nuclear Detection Office: $3.9 million Replaces radiation detection equipment destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

 

  • Language Issues: Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana, Mississippi, and other states struggled with the many cumbersome disaster recovery laws and regulations that simply are inadequate in dealing with a catastrophic disaster. In general, the Stafford Act only allows FEMA to build back the infrastructure that was in place before a disaster or deters communities from building to a higher standard that will mitigate the next disaster. This often creates needless bureaucratic hurdles to state and local governments as they rebuild after a disaster. Senators Landrieu and Cochran were successful in the months and years following Katrina/Rita to enact reforms but  Cochran were successful in the months and years following Katrina/Rita to enact reforms but those reforms were limited to the Federal response to Katrina/Rita. Consistent with Chairman Landrieu’s statement at the December 5, 2012, Homeland Security Appropriations.

Subcommittee hearing,

The bill provides similar reforms for Hurricane Sandy and future catastrophic disasters.  These reforms are drawn from the Landrieu/Cochran disaster reform bill. Reforms would: 

  • Improve FEMA’s Public Assistance programs to expedite rebuilding that has been well planned and includes mitigation measures for future disasters 
  • Provide a cost effect alternative to contracting services when the local community can provide the service;
  • Expedite recovery by streamlining federal agency processes that ensure compliance with historic and environmental reviews; 
  • Continue a third party dispute resolution process for major projects;
  • Require transparency on determinations to provide individual assistance by FEMA; 
     
  • Allow FEMA to complete repair on rental properties as a cost-effective alternative to mobile homes;
  • Make Tribal governments directly eligible for FEMA assistance instead of assistance being provided through States;
  • Require a report on the sufficiency of the Community Disaster Loan program. relieve administrative burdens for very small projects;  allow for coverage of child care costs related to disaster recovery through FEMA individual assistance.

File:TAG Hurricane Sandy Gas Lines.jpg

Image credit: Thomas Good

 

INTERIOR AND ENVIRONMENT CHAPTER:

Department of Interior:

National Park Service, Construction:

  • $348 million The bill provides $348 million in immediate reconstruction and recovery needs for Park Service units along the Eastern Seaboard that were damaged during the storm. Funds will be used for emergency stabilization needs and to replace or reconstruct facilities, roads and trails. The amount provides needed funding for iconic properties that were damaged during the storm including the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. National Park Service, Historic Preservation Fund:
  • $50 million The bill provides $50 million to fund grants to States that received Presidential major disaster declarations for Hurricane Sandy to fund rehabilitation and restoration of historic properties. Office of the Secretary, Departmental Operations:
  • $150 million The bill provides $150 million in flexible funding for the Office of the Secretary for restoration, recovery and mitigation priorities to protect against future storms and natural disasters. Funds provided within this appropriation can be transferred by the Secretary to any departmental program and may be used to fund activities such as restoration and habitat improvement grants to States and coastal restoration projects for national parks and refuges. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Construction: $78 million The bill provides
  • $78 million for immediate reconstruction and recovery needs for national wildlife refuges on the Eastern Seaboard. Funds will be used for emergency stabilization needs, to replace or reconstruct facilities, roads and trails, and to implement facilities improvements needed to mitigate anticipated damage from future storms. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Oil Spill Research: $
    3 million The bill provides $3 million to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement for necessary repairs to the bureau’s oil spill response testing facility in New Jersey. Environmental Protection Agency:
    Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Programs:
  • $810 million The bill provides $810 million in the EPA State and Tribal Assistance Grants appropriation for clean water and drinking water state revolving funds in states affected by Hurricane Sandy, including
  • $700 million for clean water needs and $110 million for drinking water needs. Funds will flow through the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds programs and will be used in conjunction with other FEMA and Community Development Block Grant funds to provide targeted funding to upgrade water infrastructure to protect against future flooding, storm damage and other natural disasters. Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund:
  • $5 million The bill provides $5 million to the EPA leaking underground storage tank cleanup program to address contaminant releases from federally regulated underground storage tanks. Hazardous Substance Superfund: $2 million The bill provides $2 million to the EPA Superfund program to assess, stabilize, and repair the damage at several Superfund National Priority List sites. Environmental Programs and Management: $725,000 The bill provides $725,000 to assess water quality impact from partially treated or raw sewage and contaminated runoff and fund necessary repairs to damaged EPA facilities. U.S. Forest Service:
    Capital Improvement and Maintenance: $4,400,000 The bill provides $4.4 million for the Service to fund immediate reconstruction and recovery needs for affected national forests. Smithsonian Institution:
    Salaries and Expenses: $2,000,000 The bill includes $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to address repairs to facilities damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Roof repairs will be needed at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum and its Udvar-Hazy Center, the National Zoo, the Museum Support Center and the Herndon Data Center.

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LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CHAPTER

Department of Health and Human Services: $800 million

Administration for Children and Families, Social Services Block Grant (SSBG): $500 million : $852 million SSBG can be used for a wide range of social services. The primary uses of these funds are expected to be child care, including construction for damaged facilities; child and adult health and mental health services; and other human services. Administration for Children and Families, Children and Families Services (Head Start): $100 million This funding will pay for repairing approximately 265 Head Start centers that were damaged in the hurricane and other supplemental costs associated with continuing services to affected children Office of the Secretary, Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund:

  • $200 million Most of this funding will be used to support NIH research grant programs that suffered major damage. Department of Labor:
  • $50 million Employment and Training Administration, Training and Employment Services:
  • $50 million This funding will go to the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker National Reserve, which will fund the temporary expansion of training and employment programs to help dislocated workers and worker protection activities. MILITARY
    CONSTRUCTION & VETERANS AFFAIRS CHAPTER: $259.8 million
    Military Construction:
  • $24.2 million  Army National Guard: $24.2 million to replace eight damaged facilities at Sea Girt National Guard Training Center in New Jersey. The buildings experienced significant structural damage as a result of the storm surge and must be demolished and replaced. Department of Veterans Affairs:
  • $235.6 million  Major Construction:
  • $207 million for the renovation and repair of key departments and systems at the VA Manhattan Medical Center. The facility experienced severe flooding and remains closed. Medical Services: $21 million to replace damaged or destroyed medical equipment at the Manhattan Medical Center. Medical Facilities: $6 million to repair or replace medical equipment and building systems at VA facilities throughout New York, including the Manhattan and Montrose VA Medical Centers. National Cemetery Administration:
  • $1.1 million to repair storm-related damages at three national cemeteries: Beverly, NJ; Cypress Hills, NY; and Long Island, NY. Information Technology (IT): $500,000 for the repair or replacement of damaged IT equipment at the Manhattan Medical Center.
    TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER
  • Department of Transportation: $12.070 billion 
  • Federal Aviation Administration Facilities and Equipment Program: $30 million The funds will pay for the most urgently needed repairs to facilities and equipment located at airports impacted by Hurricane Sandy and  Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

 

Emergency Relief Program:

  • $921 million The Emergency Relief Program pays for the repair of roads and bridges damaged by disasters.  
  • National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak): $336 million The funding will pay for property damage, operating losses, and improvements necessary to protect Amtrak’s tunnel system against future flooding and increase capacity into New York City. These enhancement will improve the resiliency of the rail and transit systems that serve the nation’s largest metropolis and financial capital.  

Emergency Relief for Public Transportation:

  • $10.783 billion The funding will be provided through the Public Transportation Emergency Relief program to pay for the repair and restoration of public transit systems in the areas most affected by Hurricane Sandy, and to support mitigation projects that make transit systems better able to resist future storms and the rise in sea levels. Of the amount provided in the bill, up to $5,383 million may be transferred to other agencies at the Department of Transportation to support mitigation projects in other modes of transportation.  
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development: $17 billion
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): $17 billion The funding provided in this account includes $15 billion for disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, and economic revitalization in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The bill includes an additional $2 billion for mitigation to reduce future risk. The bill requires the Secretary to establish a minimum award for all of the states impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
    The bill language provides flexibility so that funds can be awarded and used quickly in impacted areas, while also ensuring accountability. Recipients of disaster CDBG funding will be required to submit plans for approval on how funding will be used to ensure funds are addressing the most pressing needs of impacted areas. The bill includes $10 million for HUD to conduct oversight and provide technical assistance to grantees. Specifically, the bill requires HUD to ensure grantees are placing appropriate performance requirements in contracts. In addition,
  • $10 million is provided for HUD’s Office of Inspector General to monitor the use of these funds 
  • $10 million for general expenses for the Corps to manage the work. 
  • $63 million to repair and improve hurricane and severe weather forecasting capabilities. 
  • $15 million to repair NOAA facilities and ocean observing and coastal monitoring equipment damaged by Hurricane Sandy. 
  • $150 million for fishery disasters declared by the Secretary of Commerce in 2012.
  • $197 million to evaluate, stabilize, restore, and protect coastal ecosystems and habitat impacted by Hurricane Sandy. 
  • Department of Agriculture: $224 million
  • Emergency Conservation: $25.090 million

The funds will pay for the most urgently needed repairs to facilities and equipment located at airports impacted by Hurricane Sandy and owned by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The bill language provides flexibility so that funds can be awarded and used quickly in impacted areas, while also ensuring accountability. Recipients of disaster CDBG funding will be required to submit plans for approval on how funding will be used to ensure funds are addressing the most pressing needs of impacted areas. The bill includes $10 million for HUD to conduct oversight and provide technical assistance to grantees. Specifically, the bill requires HUD to ensure grantees are placing appropriate performance requirements in contracts. In addition, $10 million is provided for HUD’s Office of Inspector General to monitor the use of these funds.

If you would like to read the 94 pages of the Bill, please go to the following Senate website to read it:
http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=0f718f5d-c9e1-49a1-9b5a-33a313bb423d

This relief package is being called the ‘Sandy scam’ by its critics.  Out of that 60.4 billion  that is to go directly to NY,  Conn, and NJ. only $47.4 billion is said to go directly to Sandy victims and their rebuilding efforts.  The other $13 billion…..

 

@TkJohnDaniels

 

File:Mark Begich, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg

 

I guess the bill comes at the perfect time to pay back some political favors after the election.  Whats $13 billion among friends, right?  As stated in a press release by Alaskan senator Mark Begich:

 

Alaskans hard hit by fisheries disasters in recent years would be eligible for federal assistance, if a comprehensive federal disaster funding bill released today gains final Congressional passage. U.S. Senator Mark Begich joined the other members of Alaska’s congressional delegation in requesting the funding for Alaskans be included in the legislation, which also addresses the recent Superstorm Sandy which devastated the U.S. East Coast.

>The measure proposes $150 million for the declared fisheries disasters in Alaska, New England and the Gulf of Mexico. Sen. Begich also requested that the bill includes funding to address the marine debris washing up on the coasts of western states from the Japan earthquake of March 2011. …

>The bill also included is $56.8 million for charting, damage assessment and marine debris response. Sen. Begich recently wrote to the Appropriations Committee requesting inclusion of funds for the tsunami debris cleanup and fisheries disaster funding in the Super storm Sandy supplemental package …

In a statement, Begich expresses his pleasure with his own request. "I am pleased Senate appropriators recognized the need for funds to respond to the 2011 tsunami debris," Begich says, according to his office. "It will be up to NOAA to decide how to allocate those funds between needs for East Coast Sandy response and West Coast tsunami debris response, so I will work closely with the agency to ensure Alaska’s needs get fairly considered."

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I have a degree in History. For the past 26 years I have been a member of the Friends of Gettysburg.; a group that helps protect, preserve, and defend the Battlefield of Gettysburg. Currently I am a member of the Tea Party and a group called Faith and Freedom First. I was as a volunteer for both of the marches in Washington in 2009 and 2010. i have also been to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor and Restoring Love. Finally, I am one that loves to do historical research in an attempt to get to the truth. I am also not afraid to speak the truth and share it with others.