Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee have amended the $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package in an effort to “buy votes” for the measure, Republican sources charge.
Appropriators revised sections of the bill allocating relief funding exclusively for “areas that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy in the North Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers” to include other regions, namely the Gulf Coast, effected by Hurricane Isaac several months ago.
The bill, which originally allocated $3 billion in funding for preventative measures for “areas along the Atlantic Coast,” was changed to direct those funds to locations “along the Gulf and Atlantic Coast” and within boundaries of the Mississippi Valley Division of the Corps of Engineers.
The Sandy relief package has come under scrutiny for including tens of millions in questionable spending not directly related to the hurricane damage. The $60 billion price tag is also roughly equivalent to the amount of new revenue that would be raised by hiking tax rates on American earning more than $250,000 per year, as President Barack Obama has proposed.