Senate Democrats are trying to gain Republican support for the legislation meant to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy by offering kickbacks, a senior Senate aide tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD. As proof, the Senate aide sends along a marked up piece of the Sandy legislation, showing that Democrats expanded the legislation during a mark-up to include not just areas affected by Sandy, but also to provide money for "storm events that occurred in 2012 along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast within the boundaries of the North Atlantic and Mississippi Valley divisions of the Corps that were affected by Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac."
Here's a copy of the marked-up legislation, showing were Democrats crossed off lines that would've limited the Sandy bill to only providing funds only for the recovery from Hurricane Sandy:
The Senate aide believes Reid showed his hand earlier today at a press conference he held on Capitol Hill.
"We have other important things to do here in the Senate. We have -- we're going on almost two months now without giving relief to the northeast who were struck by that violent storm, Sandy. 700,000 or 800,000 homes destroyed in New Jersey and New York alone. When Irene struck, we acted very quickly. We didn't wait and say, well let's see, Alabama has two Republican senators, Mississippi has two Republican senators, Texas has two Republican senators, Louisiana has one Republican senator," Reid said.
The way the Sandy legislation now reads, thanks to the changes made by the Democrats, the bill provides funds to those exact senators singled out by Reid--the two Republicans senators from Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, and the one Republican senator from Louisiana.
The Sandy kickbacks provide an incentive for those Republicans to vote on the bill. Whether Republicans will fall for the ploy is another question.
We'll know the answer to that question in a couple hours, probably; the Senate is expected to vote on the Sandy bill today at 5 p.m.