White House proposes $60.4B in Sandy repair and mitigation spending
The Obama administration proposed Dec. 7 $60.4 billion in spending to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and fund mitigation projects.
In a letter (.pdf), Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, says the Budget Control Act allows Congress to approve supplemental appropriations for emergencies without bumping up against the discretionary spending caps the act established.
The administration's proposal would spend $12.97 billion on mitigation projects and $47.44 billion on repairs. The repairs amount includes $9.7 billion in borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Fund. The proposal would also direct $15 billion to the Department of Housing And Urban Development in community development block grant funding for housing and small businesses.
The largest mitigation project would be a $5.5 billion Federal Transit Administration effort that would range from "comprehensive flood control plans for key transportation assets to smaller-scale measures to protect critical locations." Spending for mitigation programs should be flexible enough to permit transfers between federal agencies, Zients' letter says.
The $60.4 billion is less than state governors have collectively said they'll need for Sandy repairs and mitigation of future disasters. Andrew Cuomo said New York alone needs $41.9 billion, Chris Christie said New Jersey needs $36.9 billion, and Dan Malloy said Connecticut will seek $3.2 billion in federal aid.
OMB sent the proposal to Congress the same day that President Obama signed an executive order establishing a Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.
Reports: Obama to request less than states say is needed in Hurricane Sandy aid
Sandy rearranges East Coast landscape
NOAA: 2012 hurricane season 'above normal'
The 5 costliest U.S. hurricanes of the past 20 years