WASHINGTON — Less than three months after an effort to provide a pool of aid to distressed fisheries across the nation died at the end of the last Congress, efforts to secure disaster relief funding for New England fishermen are heating up on Capitol Hill.
Just before Congress left last weekend for a two-week Easter/Passover recess, the Senate passed a bipartisan amendment — sponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska — calling for funds in the fiscal year 2014 budget to be set aside for aid for fisheries and fishing communities in New England as well as Alaska and the Gulf Coast.
The Warren-Murkowski amendment does not specify a dollar amount, and is, in effect, a non-binding provision attached to the Senate's version of the congressional budget plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. But, according to congressional sources, it foreshadows an intensified effort by Warren to work with senators from both parties to secure $150 million in funding for distressed fisheries across the country as the annual congressional appropriations process gets under way.
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