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Thank you for listening to Congressional Dish! 

Jan 19, 2013

Before the House (finally) agreed to give recovery money to Hurricane Sandy victims, they made new rules for the 113th Congress, including more private jets for themselves and less rights for gays. Then, despite Republican efforts to short them, the House finally voted to give Hurricane Sandy victims the $60 billion they asked for... Well, sort of.


  • Changed the Nepotism rule to include grandchildren.
  • Allows members to take private jets using official funds. Starts to open the door to using campaign funds (which Senate members can do) but a statute still prohibits that from members of the House.
  • Eliminates a portion of ObamaCare that prevents the House from repealing authority for IPAB.
  • Enacts the Ryan budget until a budget for 2014 is adopted.
  • Prohibits lobbyists from trolling the Congressional gym.
  • Authorizes the continuation of the "Fast and Furious" investigation.
  • Authorizes the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (the five members are John Boehner as Speaker of the House, Eric Cantor as House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy as Majority Whip, and Steny Hoyer as Minority Whip) to direct the House Office of General Counsel to defend the Defense of Marriage Act -the gay marriage ban- to "protect the interests of the House."

Karen Golinski has been fighting the House for four years to get her wife health insurance. HURRICANE SANDY RECOVERY Sandy NASA image October 29, 2012: Hurricane Sandy hits the Northeast, devastating the coastlines of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut and causing widespread damage to the surrounding states. (Amazing before and after pictures from NOAA)   December 2012: The Senate passed a $60 billion aid package and sent it to the House of Representatives. January 2, 2012: After voting on the fiscal cliff bill on the last day of the 112th Congress, Speaker Boehner had promised a vote on the Senate's Sandy bill. He lied. There was no vote. The bill died when the 112th Congress adjourned. January 4, 2012: The House passed HR 41, a piece of the dead Senate bill which authorized FEMA to borrow about $9.5 billion to make payments to victims insured through the National Flood Insurance Program. January 15th, 2012: The House passed HR 152, a bill which, after being heavily amended by a Republican congressman from New Jersey, finally authorized the remaining $50.5 billion requested by the states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. HR 152: "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013" The original bill, written by Hal Rogers of Kentucky, gave the Northeast $17 billion, which was $33 billion short of what was requested. An amendment by Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey gave the Northeast states the rest of the money. TITLE I DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE $6 million from Rogers (Kentucky) bill + $218 million from Frelinghuysen (New Jersey) amendment to be spent on:

    • Food for victims of Hurricane Sandy
    • Floodplain protection
    • Forest Restoration
    • Money to help farmers from drought

TITLE II (Completely replaced by Frelinghuysen amendment) ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

  • $20 million  $50 million for a study of flood risks to coastal populations affected by Hurricane Sandy (due 2 years after bill is signed).
  • $9 million $3.461 billion for repairs to projects that were under construction and damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
  • $7.42 million $8.21 million to dredge navigation channels damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
  • $500 million $1 billion for emergency operations and repairs.

TITLE III (Completely replaced by Frelinghuysen amendment) SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

  • $10 million $20 million for grants to organizations helping with disaster recovery, response, and long term recovery to small businesses damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
  • $1 million $5 million to the Inspector General to perform oversight on the grants.
  • $100 million $520 million for direct loans for disaster recovery.
  • $50 million $260 million for "direct administration expenses" of loan making


  • $144 million $274 million for expenses caused by Hurricane Sandy


  • $5.4 billion $11.5 billion for national disaster relief (not limited to Hurricane Sandy).


  • $585,000 $3.2 million available until September 30, 2013 2014


  • $50 million $78 million for construction expenses of the Fish and Wildlife Service
  • $234 million $348 million for construction by the National Park Service

TITLE VI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES - PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES EMERGENCY FUND $100 million (Rogers of Kentucky bill) + $800 million (Frelinghuysen of New Jersey amendment) for the Head Start program and the costs of repairing and rebuilding health care facilities, child care centers, or other social services facilities. The money is only available to victims of Hurricane Sandy. TITLE VII DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE   $24.2 million, available until September 30, 2017, for construction by the Army National Guard. "...such funds may be obligated to carry out military construction projects not otherwise authorized by law." "CONSTRUCTION, MAJOR PROJECTS" $207 million, available until September 30, 2017 for renovations and repairs as a consequence of Hurricane Sandy. "...such funds may be obligated and expended to carry out planning and design and major medical facility construction not otherwise authorized by law." (Added by the Frelinghuysen of New Jersey amendment) Money that must be spent on "operations and maintenance" expenses caused by Hurricane Sandy by September 30, 2013:

  • $40 million for the Navy
  • $8.5 million for the Air Force
  • $5.8 million for the Air National Guard
  • $5.3 million for the Army + $1.3 million to buy ammunition
  • $3.1 million for the National Guard


  • $24.2 million for "Defense Working Capital Funds"... whatever that means.

Department of Defense will be getting $348 million from the Sandy relief bill. TITLE VIII (Completely replaced by Frelinghuysen amendment) DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION - FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENTLaGuardia during Hurricane Sandy $14.6 million $30 million available until September 30, 2013 for expenses due to Hurricane Sandy FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION $2.022 billion for an emergency fund for the repair of highways, roads, and trails, in any part of the United States, including Indian reservations, that have suffered serious damage as a result of a natural disaster.

  • No more than $100 million can be spent on any single disaster.
  • The Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Mariana Islands can not be given more than $20 million.
  • The Secretary of Transportation is allowed to spend up to $500 million on Hurricane Sandy repairs.

AMTRAK $32 million $86 million for expenses related to Hurricane Sandy. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION EMERGENCY RELIEF PROGRAMNYC Subway During Hurricane Sandy $5.4 billion $10.9 billion for repairs to the public transportation system most affected by Hurricane Sandy. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT $3.85 billion $16 billion for disaster relief, long-term recovery, and repairs to infrastructure and housing damaged due to Hurricane Sandy and other disasters in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

  • Funds will go directly to the state or local government.

TITLE IV... Doesn't appear to exist. TITLE X NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA) $140,000,000 available until September 30, 2014, which includes:

  • $50 million for mapping and charting of debris from Hurricane Sandy
  • $50 million for weather and ocean research programs
  • $25 million to improve weather forecasting
  • $7 million to repair/replace ocean monitoring equipment damaged by Sandy
  • $5 million to fisheries damaged by Hurricane Sandy
  • $3 million to states for their own damage assessments

$186,000,000 available until September 30, 2015, which includes:

  • $111 million to get the polar weather satellites
  • $44.5 million to repair and upgrade hurricane reconnaissance airplanes
  • $13 million to speed up NWS ground readiness (Rep. Broun of Georgia tried to remove this one)
  • $9 million to repair NOAA facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy
  • $8.5 million to improve weather forecasting equipment and supercomputers

TITLE XI (Added by Rep. Bishop of Utah) Prevents the Federal government from buying any land with Sandy relief money. Sandy Aid vote map