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Sandy Disaster Relief May Get Added to Lame-Duck Agenda

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) told the New York Times last week that he expected the $7.1 billion in FEMA disaster reserves could be depleted by the massive cleanup and recovery.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan told reporters today that funding beyond the existing money appropriated for disaster relief and through other programs would require legislation.

“That’s obviously something that will be up to Congress to determine and something that I’m sure will be discussed going forward, but that would be additional aid that would be available above and beyond what might be immediately available under FEMA’s current authority,” Donovan said.

Other departments are actively involved in the relief efforts from the storm that pummeled the Northeast a week ago. New Jersey Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez announced today that the Transportation Department would send 350 buses from private motor coach operators to New Jersey to help New Jersey Transit get commuters around as they deal with gas shortages and diminished rail capacity.

“The buses being dispatched to New Jersey by the federal government will add much needed capacity so that residents can go to work, reach their families, buy groceries, and resume their daily lives,” Lautenberg said. “As we continue working to make gas accessible, these buses will give residents another transportation option.”

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