Trump administration reverses course, won’t seek Sandy aid cut

Image: Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Image: Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The Trump administration is no longer requesting a $107 million cut of Superstorm Sandy recovery aid as part of its $15 billion rescission budget submitted to Congress.

The administration official said in May that the Sandy funds, earmarked for the federal Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program, were not used “because the local project sponsors could not pay their local share to get their money out the door.”

A White House statement at the time added that Washington has a “spending program,” calling for the elimination of “outdated and ineffective programs across the federal government, ending the debt spiral.”

A rescission budget is a request to Congress to cancel funds that were previously appropriated.

But the administration has now reversed course and will not attempt to clawback the program’s funding, according to a White House statement.

The Emergency Watershed Protection Program offers technical and financial assistance to help protect local communities from damaged watersheds. Among others, the program provides funding for debris removal from waterways and the repair of drainage facilities.

A spokesperson for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told that the state would “aggressively pursue available federal funding that can potentially help Jersey Shore communities be better prepared for the future.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, chair of the Sandy Task Force, has previously said he would battle any attempts to rescind Sandy recovery funds.

“Cutting proactive investments that save homeowners from future flooding is penny wise and pound foolish, and goes in the opposite direction of where we need to go,” he said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.