AK, NE fisheries may get $150 million in aid
|Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012
|AK, NE fisheries may get $150 million in aid as part of $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package
|SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Kodiak Daily Mirror] by James Brooks – December 26, 2012
A $60.4 billion aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims may mean aid for Alaskans, too.
Enclosed within a bill working its way through the U.S. Senate is a provision allocating $150 million for fisheries disasters in Alaska, the Gulf Coast, New England and areas affected by the hurricane.
The language was inserted by Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), and it’s among other area-specific measures that are drawing the ire of Congressional Republicans interested in cutting costs.
“When something like this happens, there’s always people that try to exploit it for more than it’s worth. I think that’s what happened here,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told Politico.com.
Also included in the Sandy Bill are things like $10.8 billion for transit interests, $17 billion for housing grants, $5.35 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers and $336 million for Amtrak.
Those add-ons have slowed the progress of the bill, which was expected to pass the Senate before Christmas. That schedule has slipped, and while there are still hopes for early passage, the bill might not be approved until a new Congress convenes in January.
While cuts may be made before the bill nets final Senate approval, the fishery measures are expected to survive. In two procedural votes before the Senate’s Christmas break, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) cast decisive votes with a handful of other Republicans.
Murkowski strongly backs the fisheries provision, and her support is seen as a key requirement to the bill’s advance.
Passage in the House of Representatives may not be as easy, however. That chamber was consumed with failed fiscal cliff negotiations and has not significantly addressed Hurricane Sandy aid.
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