His address to HCDNNJ focused on the $60.4 billion disaster aid package for New Jersey and other states affected by Sandy.
To date, 15,000 – 20,000 residents have been displaced by the storm. Said Donovan about the short-term issue.
“Our concern is that number not grow in the next few weeks as the cold weather sets in.”
And Donovan cautioned that the proposed funding in the Senate Appropriations Bill will come slowly. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that only $9 billion will be spent over the next 9 months followed by an additional $12 billion in the next year. The bill contains funding for long-term infrastructure projects to be completed over a period of years.
The proposal, which if approved is larger than the $15 billion appropriated after Hurricane Katrina, includes among other provisions:
$17 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for renters, homeowners, and small businesses, half of which is targeted towards low- and moderate-income households; and
$500 million for health facilities and health services.
There are concerns in Congress about the how the spending will be accounted for and it faces the final weeks of a session in which Republicans and the President have stalled on an agreement over spending cuts and taxes.
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.) has said he would reject the federal aid package because he is concerned about accountability for wasteful spending.
Click here for the Star-Ledger’s coverage of Donovan’s visit and remarks.
Click here for a summary of the proposed disaster aid package.