From reporter Silla Brush:
Advocates for additional funds for recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast are optimistic that they'll get the money they've included in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill, despite President Bush's threatened veto. The roughly $120 billion supplemental bill that includes funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also includes money for levee repair and funds to cover waivers under the Stafford Act, among other provisions.
Asked whether he was concerned that the additional funds would get hung up in the war debate, Rep. Charles Melancon, D-Louisiana, said, "This is the only train that was leaving the station...the only way we could get any money without pay-go rules applying." Democrats have pushed nine bills so far this year that address recovery efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said he thought the supplemental process was the best way to add funds for recovery efforts: "We thought that the people in the coast are in an emergency situation and it was proper for us to deal with that emergency here."
Rep. Bill Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, said he was optimistic that there was negotiation room during the conference on the supplemental bill and with the White House. "There is always room for things to be worked out," he said. "I wouldn't close the door on this bill." Rep. Barney Frank said he was "hoping to pass today" in the Financial Services Committee a bill that would include $500 million for affordable housing in the region.
Etc.: Hidden Power on the Hill, on USNews.com