GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

January 9, 2013

House plan guts aid for fisheries

Two newly released U.S. House Rules Committee amendments combine to roughly match the Senate appropriation totaling $60 billion for Superstorm Sandy relief, but virtually eliminate the $150 million for fisheries disaster aid aimed at providing relief to the Northeast groundfishery, including fishermen working out of Gloucester.

One amendment for $17 billion, filed by Rep. Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, contains no money for the fisheries disasters of Massachusetts, four other New England states and New York, as well as Mississippi’s oyster fishery and Alaska’s Chinook salmon fishery.

The other amendment, calling for $33.677 billion and filed by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican, contains just $5 million for the economic fisheries disaster declared by acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank last September.

Republican senators and representatives have been critical of the size of the Sandy disaster relief package, and have described the fisheries’ relief as pork.

The House amendments were released late Monday or early Tuesday. A spokesman for Congressman James McGovern of Worcester, the second ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee, said the Republican plan is to use the Rogers bill as a template for amendments to be filed by Friday. The committee will decide which can be voted on the floor next week.

A spokesman for the Rules Committee said the approach allows members to decide how large a Sandy relief package they want approved. The tactic is being seen as a harbinger of ill for the fishing communities facing disasters.

Congressman John Tierney of Salem, whose district includes Cape Ann, was sharply critical of the machination Tuesday.

“After failing to pass the Senate package last week, House Republican leadership is now further complicating the process by offering its own legislation that does not go far enough to help the families and businesses affected by the fishery disasters declared in Massachusetts and other states,” Tierney said in an email to the Times.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers