RECENT VOTES

Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief

This week the House considered H.R. 152: Appropriations for Sandy Disaster Relief. You may recall that funding to help states cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy passed in the Senate before the end of the year. That package was supposed to be taken up by the House on January 1st but votes were cancelled late that night. As you can imagine, this resulted in a tremendous amount of criticism, particularly from lawmakers and residents of impacted states. After the backlash, a small portion of the funds necessary to address the damage of Hurricane Sandy passed in the House with a promise to take up the rest of the funding this week. The House finally acted Tuesday, but not without controversy.

The Senate passed legislation providing $60.4 billion in disaster relief at the end of the year. Two weeks ago, the House approved $9.7 billion in funding. This week, a two pronged approach was taken. First, a measure to provide $17 billion in funding was considered. Then, an amendment was considered that added $33.4 billion more to the aid package. This brought total funding for Hurricane Sandy relief to $60.1 billion, slightly less than the Senate bill.

You will see in the voting chart that quite a few members did not support providing disaster relief. Many argued that funding should be fully offset by making cuts elsewhere. This approach would have applied different rules on Sandy than existed for all other major storms in recent memory, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Andrew. Those circumstances were rightly deemed emergencies, funding was provided without being fully offset, and it was provided much more quickly. No one is disputing the devastation that Sandy caused, and those impacted deserve a helping hand. I voted YES. H.R. 152 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

49

179

0

4

DEMOCRAT

192

1

0

7

TOTAL

241

180

0

11

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0