Republicans Question Provisions in Sandy Federal Aid Bill

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Conservative opposition to the White House’s $60 billion storm relief package continues to grow. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona argued on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday that the bill is rife with unnecessary and unneeded provisions.

“Every one of my colleagues on this side of the aisle want to act quickly to provide the much needed relief for the people who have been impacted by the horrible effects of Hurricane Sandy,” McCain said. “But we cannot consider this legislation in a vacuum.”

McCain pointed to a Congressional Budget Office review of the bill he said found that 64 percent of the funds requested would not be spent until 2015 at the earliest. He also objected to specific line items in the bill he said were not necessary, such as $150 million in aid for fisheries and $120 million for a watershed protection program for areas damaged by drought and wildfire.

Conservative groups also calling for the bill’s defeat. The Club for Growth on Monday called the bill “filled with pork” without “accountability or oversight.” On Tuesday, American’s for Prosperity called the bill “wasteful and fiscally irresponsible expenditure of taxpayer dollars.”

Democrats counter that alll provisions in the bill are vital to recovery from Sandy and other natural disasters elsewhere.

The bill is expected to be voted on in the senate this week.