WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Senate has approved a $60.4 billion recovery package for areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy. However, the relief aid is hardly a done deal, as the bill faces an uncertain future in the House.
There are a couple of reasons why the $60.4 billion Superstorm Sandy aid legislation may languish in the House: the amount of the bill and the calendar.
Some conservative House lawmakers are uncomfortable with the costly package passed by the Senate. With the nation's tight economic situation, they may want to scale it back a bit, or at least include some spending cuts elsewhere to offset the cost of the legislation.
"We live right in hurricane alley. I'm saying this as somebody who knows it may be me next - it may be my district after the next hurricane. We absolutely have to pay for it. It's the right thing to do. We cannot continue to borrow this much money to pay for things that we want but we don't to pay for out of our tax monies. We have to find that savings someplace else," Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R - South Carolina) said.
The potential holdup in the House prompted the governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to send a letter to lawmakers leaning on them to approve the money.
They write: "The Senate has passed this aid package in a bipartisan manner and there is no reason the House shouldn't do the same. With the House reconvening this weekend to help the nation avoid the 'fiscal cliff,' remember that disasters affect every region of this nation and that we as a nation stand together in times of crisis."
The second difficulty for the House is the calendar. House GOP Speaker John Boehner has signaled that he does support some kind of Sandy aid, though he has not decided whether to bring it up for a vote in this session of Congress, which ends on Thursday. If not, the bill will expire, and the next Congress will have to start on it again.