I first posted about the budget dilemma Hurricane Sandy presented to congressional Republicans in general and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on October 31. At that time I said there were three questions:
First, how much aid will be needed and what will it be used for?
Second, will congressional Republicans demand reductions in other spending to offset the impact of the new Sandy-related aid?
Third, how will House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) deal with this situation?
The questions are now starting to be answered.
1. The total amount of aid that will be requested by the states affected by Sandy will be between $80 billion and $100 billion.
2. House and Senate Republicans seem poised to demand offsetting spending cuts for the aid.
You haven't heard much...or perhaps anything...yet about a disaster relief supplemental appropriation for the state and local governments and individuals who were hit so hard by Sandy.
But you will, probably starting this afternoon when President Obama tours New Jersey arm-in-arm with Governor Chris Christie.
My guess is that the disaster relief package will jump the fiscal cliff as a priority immediately after the election and that it will be dealt with weeks before the fiscal cliff deadlines at the start of January.
There are three questions.
First, how much aid will be needed and what will it be used for? The state and local governments that were in Sandy's path have huge infrastructure problems and the individuals who have been affected will look to Washington for assistance in rebuilding.
Second, congressional Republicans demand reductions in other spending to offset the impact of the new Sandy-related aid? No matter what the disaster, that's been the pattern the past two years and it is hard to see it changing for a storm that ravaged primarily blue states.