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GOP Senators vow to trim superstorm Sandy aid to $23.8 billion

Senate Republicans have proposed an alternate disaster relief plan for states affected by superstorm Sandy, which would use $23.8 billion- rather than President Obama's proposed $60.4 billion- to fund initial relief.


Congressman Peter King, (c.), and Senator Chuck Schumer, listen as Congresswoman Nita Lowey speaks during a news conference, Dec. 14, in New York. Elected officials, business and labor leaders met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo federal aid to New York following Superstorm Sandy. The U.S. Senate is debating a $60.2 billion aid package requested by President Obama.

Bebeto Matthews/AP

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U.S. Senate Republicans sought to slash a $60.4 billion aid bill to cover reconstruction after Superstorm Sandy, proposing on Wednesday to fund only $23.8 billion in immediate disaster relief while assessing longer-term needs.

The far smaller initial amount is one of a number of Republican amendments aimed at cutting projects from a bill that they see as a "slush fund" loaded with questionable requests for spending on unrelated programs and big infrastructure.

Senator Daniel Coats of Indiana said his plan for $23.8 billion in initial funding would provide sufficient money for immediate needs through March 27, for work such as debris cleanup, repairing damaged equipment, rebuilding destroyed homes and businesses.

"It seems to me the most logical, responsible way to move forward is to identify the immediate needs and provide the immediate funding to meet those needs," said Coats, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.


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