As the 113th Congress resumes this week, the Senate will address the Hurricane Sandy relief legislation that passed in the House just a few weeks ago. The House is not scheduled for any floor meetings this week.
One topic that will not be addressed this week is firearms control, much to the dismay of gun control advocates. According to Opencongress.com the most viewed bills from the past week are (HR 21) NRA Members’ Gun Safety Act of 2013, (HR 138) the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, and (HR 41) the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. Although gun control is a prevalent topic in Washington today, proposed legislation will have to be set aside for now. The Sandy relief bill was signed into law by the president on January 6, just three days after the bill was initially introduced. Now the Senate will be faced with (HR 152) Disaster Relief Appropriations Act. This new bill is an additional formality detailing the proposed funding disaster relief.
The road to passing the Sandy Relief Bill into law was not a simple one. On January 2 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was outraged that the House GOP blocked the bill and failed to address it. Christie held a press conference expressing his frustration toward House speaker John Boehner. “Shame on you, shame on congress,” he said.
Congress, however, took Christie’s words into account, because the $60 billion aid package was promptly passed through both houses and signed by President Obama four days later. As for HR 152, hopefully the Senate will adopt the same action as the House and pass the legislation. The House passed on the bill on January 15 by a vote of 241-180. If passed, HR 152 will provide an estimated $17 billion that will be spent over the next decade in aid to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. A breakdown of the budget can be found here. The Senate will meet on Monday, where the bill is expected to pass easily.