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Democrats Look for GOP Backing to Speed Sandy Aid

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Grimm, a GOP freshman who represents hard-hit Staten Island, already has been seeking support among fellow Republicans for a Sandy disaster aid package, reaching out in particular to lawmakers from states prone to being hit by hurricanes.

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“I am going to be open-minded,” Johnny Isakson of Georgia, a conservative Republican, said last week. “They have had a difficult time in New Jersey, and a difficult time in New York, but we have a disaster of a budget process right now, which is exacerbated by the fact that we have only got about $5 billion left in the fund for disasters.”

While waiting for the Senate to act, Democrats and Republicans in the House are pushing for Congress to consider using the tax code to provide some relief to people who suffered losses due to Sandy, mirroring a similar effort already announced by two members of the Senate Finance Committee, Charles E. Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

Among the House Republicans backing this effort led by Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., is Michael G. Grimm, a GOP freshman who represents hard-hit Staten Island. Grimm already has been seeking support among fellow Republicans for a Sandy disaster aid package, reaching out in particular to lawmakers from states prone to being hit by hurricanes.

He also has asked House Republican leadership to allow the Sandy recovery package on the floor for a vote without opening it to amendments. That’s likely to be the procedure if the Senate passes a bill, and then GOP leaders seek to go to conference, as conference reports are considered under expedited procedures, with the package then moving as a stand-alone measure. House leaders also could bring the Sandy package on the floor under a closed rule as part of a larger package.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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