Alaska provisions in a relief bill for states affected by Sandy under scrutiny

Alaska provisions in a relief bill for states affected by Hurricane Sandy are coming under scrutiny.

Some senior Republican senators want to strip aid for the fishery disaster.

The bill is a priority of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He says Senators must understand the upper-chamber will not recess for Christmas until the relief package is finished.

“We have the opportunity to help make families and communities whole again. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join in moving aid quickly to those affected by Sandy as they continue to recover and rebuild,” Reid said on the Senate floor on Monday.

The problem is, not all of the money is pegged for Sandy.

Arizona Senator John McCain says he wants the Senate to vote to include or strip the $150 million allocated for fishery disasters.

The money would go to Alaska, states in the Northeast and the Gulf Coast.

And none of it, says McCain, meets muster.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with a bill that’s supposed to repair the damage done by a Hurricane on the East Coast,” McCain said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration approved the three regions that would receive the money.

The fishery disaster declared in the Northeast was for damage not yet done. Senator Lisa Murkowski says Alaska’s need is more pressing.

She says the appropriations committee is determining levels of damage – designating regions as in need of immediate help, help in the near-term, or money down the road.

“If the need is now, if those families are hurting, and the need is now, let’s figure out a way to provide for that relief,” Murkowski said.

Conservative groups are now coming out against the aid bill, saying it sends too much money to too many projects that aren’t in immediate need.

 

Recent headlines

  • Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Photo by Jennifer Canfield/KTOO)

    Juneau Assembly names new hospital board members

    The Juneau Assembly has appointed Dr. Bob Urata and Lance Stevens to the nine-member Bartlett Regional Hospital board. Urata is a physician with a longtime practice. Stevens is a former president of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.
  • (Photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife)

    More snow means moose move to roads

    Recent heavy snow accumulation is pushing moose onto Alaska roads increasing collision danger. When snow piles up, you’re more likely to encounter moose on roads.
  • A map of the favored proposed route to Katzehin. (Map courtesy Alaska DOT)

    Juneau Assembly votes 6-3 to support the road

    The Juneau Access Project envisions 50 more miles of road up Lynn Canal to a ferry terminal closer to the road system. It has divided the Juneau community for decades and faces significant opposition from other southeast cities including Haines and Skagway. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker pulled the plug on the $574 million project last month.
  • Vote postponed over Juneau’s controversial ‘camping ordinance’

    The Juneau Assembly heard more than 90 minutes of testimony from dozens of residents including merchants, social workers and homeless people themselves who all agreed on one thing: Juneau has a serious homeless problem. But speakers had radically different viewpoints.
X