Proposed Sandy Aid Package Would Help NASA, Smithsonian

Hurricane Sandy - Growth of a Monster Storm | Video
Hurricane Sandy - Growth of a Monster Storm | Video (Image credit: NASA / NOAA)

The Obama administration is seeking $60.4 billion in federal aid for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, which would include repairs at the National Air and Space Museum and NASA's launch facilities on the East Coast.

The White House's requests were outlined in a letter sent late last week to congressional leaders from Jeff Zeints, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The bulk of the proposed aid money would go toward efforts to repair homes and public infrastructure ravaged by the record-breaking superstorm and infuse cash into efforts to prepare for future storms.

But the White House also asked for $4 million to allow NASA to fix eroded dunes and berms that protect launch sites at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Under the plan, another $2 million would go to the Smithsonian to help the institution fix roof damage at its network of museums in the Washington, D.C., area, including the National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum and National Zoo.

But all that rides on approval from Congress. The Senate is to begin debating its own version of the package Monday afternoon. That proposal matches the White House's requested $60.4 billion, although it would make available $15 million for repairs at NASA facilities through 2018, according to a senate summary of the bill.

Some House Republicans have said they would seek a smaller initial package to deal with urgent relief and rebuilding efforts, while awaiting more detailed evidence on damages before making decisions about additional spending, according to the Associated Press.

Follow on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Megan Gannon Contributing Writer

Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity on a Zero Gravity Corp. to follow students sparking weightless fires for science. Follow her on Twitter for her latest project.