U.S. Senate Holds Hurricane Sandy Hearings - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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U.S. Senate Holds Hurricane Sandy Hearings

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

mcurtis@abc6.com 

While the clean up from Hurricane Sandy continues, so too, does the effort to pay the bills.

The U.S. Senate held it's first hearing on the disaster, seeing slide after slide of the damage and pleas for more help.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said, "To help their business colleagues get back in operation, in time for our next summer season. So we hope we'll be able to greet Rhode Island's tourists with a wonderful set of restored beaches, but it is going to take some help."

House Members say Congress must come up with money for small businesses that were damaged or destroyed, but still don't quality for disaster loans.

"To assess the possibility of providing direct financial assistance to these truly disadvantaged small business owners either through grants or a hybrid of up–front grants followed by super low interest loans," said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).

The Committee also heard pleas to help deal with global warming which some believing is adding to the frequency of dangerous storms:

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "The state delegation also asked congress for more federal aid. After all Rhode Island was hit by Sandy this year; Irene last year and Biblical floods in 2010."

And while Rhode Island was not hit as bad as New York and New Jersey, the damage here is still very bad.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said, "The size and frequency of these events, coupled with a very harsh and difficult climate in the state have made it very challenging for Rhode Island to fund the portion of the recovery they must fund."

Washington has already heeded some of the pleas for more help. Disaster assistance to fix Rhode Island roads has already gone from 5 to 14 million dollars.

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