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Sandy aid showdown in D.C. today

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    The biggest Trenton news today is taking place in Washington D.C.


    The biggest Trenton news today is taking place in Washington D.C.

    The House did approve a $9 billion bill to shore up the national flood insurance program, but that fell far short of the $60 billion requested by Pres. Barack Obama and approved by the Senate.

    The New York Times reports the House will spread out authorization of the remaining $50.7 billion over two votes.

    First, the House will vote on a $17 billion "bare bones" bill, followed by a vote on a $33.7 billion amendment. The latter is seen to have "non-emergency" spending in it, according to the Times, such as money for work on the Northeast Corridor railway and funds for highway improvements nationwide. It's expected that the amendment will face stiff opposition from some fiscal conservatives.

    Anyone with a TV will remember what happened two weeks ago when Congress punted on Sandy funding. Gov. Chris Christie gave a widely praised press conference in which he blasted the House, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for their failure to act. A few hours later, Boehner announced the House would take up Sandy aid by today.

    At a press conference Monday in Bradley Beach, Christie again made clear he expects Congress to give New Jersey the same kind of aid approved after Hurricane Katrina, the Iowa floods and the Joplin, Mo. tornado.

    "We don't' expect anything more than that, but we will not accept anything less," he said. "And if they want to make new rules about disasters, well, they picked the wrong state to make the new rules with."

    Meanwhile, members of the state's congressional delegation are taking to the media to push the legislation.

    Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2) wrote an op-ed last week in the Courier Post arguing New Jersey shouldn't be "short-changed."

    Democrats Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) was on WNYC radio this morning and has an 11:15 appearance scheduled on CNN.

    Rep. Frank Pallone (D-7) was on the Weather Channel and CNBC.

    In his CNBC appearance, Pallone said the lack of an aid bill is already slowing the rebuilding effort. He said further delay will have serious economic consequences.

    "We want to be ready by Memorial Day. You know, jobs, the tourism season, the local economy is very dependent on tourism and the more we delay then the boardwalks and the streets and the other amenities are not going to be ready in time for the summer season," Pallone said.
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