WASHINGTON—House lawmakers don’t intend to introduce an emergency funding bill anywhere near as large as the $60 billion the Obama administration is seeking to help rebuild the Northeast after superstorm Sandy, saying the administration hasn’t provided sufficient details to justify spending that amount, two senior GOP aides said Wednesday.
If the Republican-controlled House doesn’t take up the measure this year, it would push debate on a large rebuilding bill into next year—something New York and New Jersey officials have said they want to avoid.
House Appropriations Committee staff members are trying to determine how much might be needed to pay for the immediate needs of victims of the crisis. But a senior GOP aide said that amount would be “far smaller” than the $60 billion the administration is seeking. The aide said it was too early to say how much money the committee would recommend sending to New York, New Jersey and other affected states.
Between $5 billion and $6 billion would be immediately available to the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the terms of the Budget Control Act signed into law last year, the aide said.
But lawmakers and governors from New York and New Jersey said that isn’t enough to cover the costs of rebuilding. They have asked for money for a range of projects, not just FEMA. The White House’s request includes items such as $6.2 billion to repair the New York City area’s mass-transit system and $15 billion that the Department of Housing and Urban Development would give local governments to help rebuild homes and other infrastructure.