Collins said she was seeking “assurance that there are internal controls sufficient to ensure that the money is not wasted.”
“It’s very difficult to assess whether $60 billion is the right dollar amount, whether $40 billion is the right amount,” she said.
Collins, who also serves as the top Republican on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said that panel was reviewing parts of the request within its jurisdiction.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the supplemental came up for discussion at a Senate GOP lunch Wednesday afternoon. Some Republicans raised questions about the level of detail provided by the Office of Management and Budget about the request, which includes $15 billion for flexible Community Development Block Grant funding and $11.5 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency activities.
“We haven’t seen an analysis of what insurance covers and what’s not covered, and so I think, to be responsible, first we need to meet the needs of folks who are there, but that’s immediate,” South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint said.
DeMint added that he would prefer a smaller bill now to meet immediate needs with additional funds coming with a continuing resolution next year that would fund the government past March.
At a discussion Wednesday, several House conservatives said they would demand offsets for any appropriations supplemental to address Sandy’s devastation.
“If we can’t come together and find $60 billion in savings in the face of this tragedy, then do you really think we’re going to be able to balance the budget?” asked Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.
“We have these emergencies happen every year,” said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, R-Idaho. “That should be a part of our budget planning.”
Ben Weyl and Alan K. Ota contributed to this report.
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.