January 3, 2013

North Carolina hurricane relief
also tied up in U.S. House


The U.S. House of Representatives’ failure to act on the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Bill will also affect aid to North Carolina, especially funds for the state’s inlets which saw significant shoaling during the hurricane in late October.

The bill passed the Senate on Dec. 28, and the House was expected to act on the $60 billion package late on New Year’s Day after passing legislation to preserve the Bush tax cuts for middle-class Americans and raise taxes on the wealthiest two percent.

However, for whatever reason, House Speaker John Boehner left the chamber without calling the bill to the floor, a move that has outraged lawmakers from states affected by the hurricane.

“It is unimaginable that Congress would not provide much-needed relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,” Hagan said yesterday in a news release.  “Our state may not have received the very worst of this storm, but areas in northeastern North Carolina are still hurting. I urge the House to take up our bipartisan bill that provides funding to ensure that our communities, families and businesses have the support they need to recover as quickly as possible after Hurricane Sandy.”

The bill includes funding to repair damages to North Carolina’s inlets, waterways, roads and bridges, and to provide disaster assistance loans to small businesses.

Inlets especially took a beating in the hurricane and two northeasters that followed and several, including Hatteras and Oregon inlets, have heavy shoaling that is interfering with boat and ferry traffic.
Yesterday was the last day of the 112th Congress.  The new Congress was sworn in today, but the entire legislative process must start over.
According to Hagan office, the highlights of relief for North Carolina are:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified $30 million in damages to North Carolina’s inlets caused by Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent northeasters. The dredging projects to repair these damages would be eligible to receive funding through the Army Corps under the Senate bill.

 North Carolina roads and bridges sustained $8 million in damages from Hurricane Sandy. The state has received a $4 million reimbursement from the Emergency Relief Fund. The Senate bill provide additional funding for the Emergency Relief Fund to ensure states like North Carolina can continue to be compensated for repairs.

 The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a disaster declaration in North Carolina for Dare, Currituck, Hyde, and Tyrell Counties. The Hurricane Sandy Supplemental bill includes an additional $500 million in disaster relief loans through the SBA. These loans can go to homeowners, businesses, and non-profits in states affected.

Last month, Hagan joined her colleagues on the Senate Small Business Committee in outlining ways the SBA could improve its disaster programs to assist small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. For more information,  click here.

Boehner has said that the House will take up a bill that includes $9 billion in supplemental flood insurance funds tomorrow and will address the remaining $51 billion later this month.

The new Senate will also have to pass the bill.  
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