WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is expected to soon release a proposal for Hurricane Sandy relief aid that will likely include additional private-activity bond authority and special disaster bonds, sources said.
Over the weekend Schumer called on Congress to open their wallets for storm-ravaged New Yorkers who need assistance with reconstruction projects.
While the details of Schumer’s proposal are not final, it’s likely to resemble some proposals put forth by the Council of Development Finance Agencies.
Several weeks ago, the CDFA and three other muni market groups sent draft legislation to Congress that would create special Hurricane Sandy Recovery Bonds to help businesses and residents in the Mid-Atlantic region still reeling from storm-related destruction to rebuild.
The groups urged Congress to create special recovery bonds modeled after federal financing programs used for past hurricanes like Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They also suggested that the bonds not be subject to a special state-by-state PAB volume cap or the alternative minimum tax.
When Congress created the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 for states affected by Hurricane Katrina it took approximately five months to pass through Congress.
This time however, passing a Sandy-relief funding package through Congress is further complicated by the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations as well as a Republican effort to offset any amount of funding over the $11.8 billion fiscal 2013 disaster relief fund cap that was created in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Earlier on Monday, Republican Rep. Tom Reed of New York told reporters that House Republicans would want all of the emergency spending to be justified.
Separately, the White House is expected to soon release a supplemental spending request to Congress for Sandy-related aid relief. White House spokespersons would not return calls for comment.
Federal aid requests from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and other states total over $80 billion so far for rebuilding and mitigation projects.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spent Monday afternoon on Capitol Hill lobbying congressional leaders for $42 billion in aid to help the state clean up in the storm’s aftermath.
Schumer’s proposal is likely to encounter road bumps in the Republican-controlled House where many lawmakers are waiting to get specific damage estimates for New York and New Jersey, sources said. A relief package proposal is unlikely to see any action from lawmakers until those estimates have been calculated.
The House and Senate will each hold hearings on Capitol Hill this week to review the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s preparedness and response to Hurricane Sandy. á