WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Boosters of the more than $50 billion dollar Sandy relief bill that passed the House last week say they can't say for sure just when the bill will be scheduled for a vote in the US Senate, although they expect it to come to the floor sometime this week.
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) took to the floor Tuesday to press her case for the aid package's quick passage and told colleagues it should not be held up by the larger debate about the nation's debt load.
"It will be paid for. We should not be arguing over that while the water is rising or while people are gutting their homes or worshiping in tents along the beach. They need their churches back. They need their communities back," Landrieu said.
During her floor remarks Sen. Landrieu raised the possibility that Senate Republicans might want to submit some amendments to the Sandy bill.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid publicly committed to taking up the Sandy measure on an expedited basis. The Senate is also deliberating on new ground rules for its day-to-day operation as well as a Republican House measure to raise the nation's debt ceiling until May.
Staffers with Senators from both New York and New Jersey said that the fastest track for the bill would be as a so-called "unanimous consent" resolution. That would require Republicans to sign off on the bill without amendments.