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GOP Senators vow to trim superstorm Sandy aid to $23.8 billion

Senate Republicans have proposed an alternate disaster relief plan for states affected by superstorm Sandy, which would use $23.8 billion- rather than President Obama's proposed $60.4 billion- to fund initial relief.

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Coats said such mitigation efforts were "long-term projects" that should not be immediately funded without further study.

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The Republicans also aim to cut out $150 million for rebuilding fisheries, including those damaged by disasters inAlaska and the Gulf Coast. It would exclude a $58.9 million Department of Agriculture request to replant trees on private property due to "unsubstantiated" estimates for damage from Sandy.

The plan and other amendments to the Sandy aid measure are expected to be considered on Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which normally acts first on spending bills, is hanging back to see whether Senate Republicans are successful in cutting the request down to size.

Asked if he would also proceed with an amount below the $60.4 billion sought by Obama, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, a Republican from Kentucky, said: "Let's see what the Senate does first."

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