House Passes Hurricane Sandy Supplemental With NASA Funds Intact

House Passes Hurricane Sandy Supplemental With NASA Funds Intact

The House passed a FY2013 supplemental appropriations act for the victims of Hurricane Sandy (H.R. 152) this evening, including $15 million to cover damages to NASA facilities at Wallops Flight Facility and Cape Canaveral.

How to deal with the damage from Hurricane Sandy was a hard-fought issue two weeks ago as the 112th Congress ended.  The Senate passed a $60.4 billion disaster relief bill, but House Speaker John Boehner refused to bring the bill to the floor.  Instead, the House passed a $9.7 billion bill strictly to keep the National Flood Insurance Program solvent.

Today, the House dealt with the rest of the disaster relief proposal.   House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced a $17 billion bill for immediate assistance, to which Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) offered a $33.7 billion amendment for additional aid, bringing the total (along with the previously passed $9.6 billion) very close to the Senate’s $60.4 billion mark.  The Senate acted during the 112th Congress, however, so it must consider the legislation anew.

The underlying Rogers bill passed 327-61 earlier today, despite efforts by some conservative Republicans to force the funding to be offset by across-the-board cuts to other government agencies, including the Department of Defense.   The Frelinghuysen amendment, which includes the $15 million for NASA, was debated throughout the afternoon and early evening, with numerous amendments proposed, most of which were rejected.   No amendments to delete the NASA funds were raised.  The Frelinghuysen amendment passed 228-192 and at 7:29 this evening, the bill as amended passed 241-180 with the NASA funding intact.

Funds for NOAA are also included in the bill.  An amendment by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) to cut $13 million from the National Weather Service ground readiness project was rejected.   None of the NOAA funds appears to directly impact its satellite programs.

Action now returns to the Senate, which is in recess until next week.

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