Last week, Republicans in Congress said they wouldn't allocate the full $60.4 billion the White House requested for rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy because cost estimates weren't specific enough, and now they're questioning certain riders attached to the bill. Some of their complaints are understandable, like their objection to including funding for fisheries as far away as Alaska (Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska argues that recent fishery failures have "devastated communities," though many of those communities weren't in Sandy's path). However, Republican legislators are also suggesting that funding for reinforcing infrastructure to withstand future storms should be cut, and aid should go out in small chunks. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Democrats won't whittle down the bill any further, since New York and New Jersey are already getting less than the $82 billion they requested. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said local governments can't launch new projects if there isn't a long-term commitment to provide the funds, and added, "The reality is, is if you're going to rebuild a subway like this and you don't do it in a way that protects against flooding the next time, then you're wasting your money."
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