Donovan, who is the administration’s point man on Sandy recovery, did not offer a topline funding figure for the aid package, but it is likely to be in the tens of billions of dollars. He was due to meet later Thursday with Office of Management and Budget Chief Jeffrey Zients on the request. New York and New Jersey officials have estimated the cost of recovery in their states at about a combined $80 billion, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has floated a $60 billion package.
Trent Lott, who served as leader of Senate Republicans from 1996 to 2003 and helped craft Hurricane Katrina aid packages, said in a Wednesday interview that advocates for speedy clearance of the disaster aid should “be careful of what they put in” the bill.
“They are going to get what they need. The only question is, can they get it done right now?” Lott said. “One thing they have to be sure of, don’t let it start being loaded up with extraneous material. That will take it down.”
Landrieu added she did not expect to see a lot of extraneous spending requests on an aid package. “I think they would be very afraid to have to deal with people like Sen. Schumer if they tried to do that,” she said. “I think he is a very good guardian of that, along with the other members of that . . . very strong delegation, both House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats. I don’t think people would want to mess with them.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.