Colorado's legislators said Friday they are pleased Congress quickly passed a $40 billion emergency aid bill,but some warned this may not be enough.
The Senate and House unanimously approved the package Friday,providing relief money for victims of Tuesday's attacks and funding ensuing investigations.
“These terrorist attacks have caused a tremendous amount of damage,” Republican Sen. Ben Campbell said in a statement Friday. “We hope $40 billion will be enough,but if not,Congress will work to provide more money to those who need it.”
Fellow Republican Sen. Wayne Allard echoed Campbell's perspective,according to Allard's spokesman.
“We don't know if this is enough. We are still in the early stages of assessing the needs and so this likely not the total,” said Allard's spokesman Sean Conway. “There is a lot to be done. We need to rebuild the Pentagon and there is a lot of work needed in New York.”
President Bush originally asked Congress Wednesday for $20 billion in emergency aid. However,lawmakers agreed late Thursday night to double the amount after the White House and some states pleaded for more.
Congress passed the bill in record time,with unanimous votes in both chambers,96-0 in Senate and 422-0 in the House.
According to the Associated Press,the bill provides an immediate $10 billion to be used to respond to the attacks,counter domestic and international terrorism,increase transportation security and repair facilities damaged by the attacks.
Another $10 billion would be made available 15 days after the White House informs Congress of a plan for its use. The remaining $20 billion would be included in spending bills for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Under the agreement reached with the White House,at least half the $40 billion will go to disaster recovery activities in New York,Virginia and Pennsylvania,where a fourth hijacked plane crashed Tuesday.
Rep. Bob Schaffer,a Republican from Fort Collins,said no one can predict what more will be needed and he lamented the situation.
“This needed to be done,but there is no reason for celebration,” he said. “This bill is an unfortunate necessity.”
A spokesman for Rep. Mark Udall,a Boulder Democrat,concurred.
“No money amount of money can begin to compensate people for the losses they have endured,” said Udall's press secretary Lawrence Pacheco. “But Congressmen Udall believes $40 billion is an appropriate amount to help the recovery.”
Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo expects a revision of the upcoming defense budget.
“This is a long-term undertaking,” Tancredo said. “I'm sure the defense budget will reflect the increasing needs of our armed forces.”
Fellow Republican Rep. Joel Hefley,of Colorado Springs,said he supports Congress' speedy approval of the bill. But,he continued in a statement: “I also want to ensure that the money is used appropriately. I am not comfortable sending a blank check to these damaged areas,but instead want to ensure that the Congress keep an account of where and how the funds are being spent.”
Denver's Rep. Diana DeGette,a Democrat,agreed urgency is necessary,explaining the first $20 billion is available at once.
“This money should be enough to address the immediate needs,” she said. “Beyond that,we will just have to see what happens.”
DeGette lauded Congress' show of solidarity.
“All members recognize we are in a state of national emergency and we worked in a unified and non-partisan manner,” she said.
Rep.Scott McInnis,a Republican from Grand Junction,reiterated DeGette's views.
“I am thankful we have come together in unity as Congress to provide this urgent funding,” McInnis said in a statement.
“We will remain strong and we will not allow faceless terrorists to destroy our country's spirit.”