January 16, 2014
The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed the $1 trillion Appropriations Bill containing $75 million in disaster aid to fishermen and fishing communities yesterday afternoon, sending the measure along to the Senate, where it is expected to pass in a vote that could come as soon as today.
The landslide passage in the House, by a vote of 359-67, was regarded as the most prominent hurdle remaining in the path of the bill that provides the first tangible instance of direct federal financial assistance to fishermen and their communities since the Department of Commerce’s 2012 declaration of a disaster in the Northeast groundfish fishery.
The bill’s successful journey through the House appropriation process also represented an immense victory for the Massachusetts House delegation, including Rep. John Tierney.
Starting literally from scratch, the Massachusetts delegation helped convince House appropriators to come up with $75 million — half of the initial $150 million Senate appropriation — to aid fishermen in the nation’s fisheries.
The bill is expected to pass in the Senate, where the initial appropriation of $150 million had strong support, including that of Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.