Storm relief sets up new spending without cuts

  • This Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, aerial photo shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough in New York. The tiny beachfront neighborhood was told to evacuate before superstorm Sandy hit New York and burned down as it was inundated by floodwaters, transforming a quaint corner of the Rockaways into a smoke-filled debris field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)This Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, aerial photo shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough in New York. The tiny beachfront neighborhood was told to evacuate before superstorm Sandy hit New York and burned down as it was inundated by floodwaters, transforming a quaint corner of the Rockaways into a smoke-filled debris field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
  • ** FILE ** An aerial view shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The tiny beachfront neighborhood, told to evacuate before Superstorm Sandy hit New York, burned down as it was inundated by floodwaters, transforming a quaint corner of the Rockaways into a smoke-filled debris field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)** FILE ** An aerial view shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The tiny beachfront neighborhood, told to evacuate before Superstorm Sandy hit New York, burned down as it was inundated by floodwaters, transforming a quaint corner of the Rockaways into a smoke-filled debris field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
  • A beachside house deemed uninhabitable by the New York City Department of Buildings is left in ruins in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of the Rockaways in New York on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)A beachside house deemed uninhabitable by the New York City Department of Buildings is left in ruins in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of the Rockaways in New York on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
  • A roller coaster that once stood on the Funtown Pier at Seaside Heights, N.J., is seen dunked in the ocean on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, after the pier was hit by superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A roller coaster that once stood on the Funtown Pier at Seaside Heights, N.J., is seen dunked in the ocean on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, after the pier was hit by superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • President Obama (right) is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon the president's arrival at the Atlantic City International Airport outside Atlantic City, N.J., on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Mr. Obama traveled to the region to take an aerial tour of the Atlantic coast of New Jersey in areas damaged by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)President Obama (right) is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon the president's arrival at the Atlantic City International Airport outside Atlantic City, N.J., on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Mr. Obama traveled to the region to take an aerial tour of the Atlantic coast of New Jersey in areas damaged by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Much of lower Manhattan remains dark, as viewed from the darkened Manhattan side of the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Power outages plagued much of the New York area in the wake of superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)Much of lower Manhattan remains dark, as viewed from the darkened Manhattan side of the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Power outages plagued much of the New York area in the wake of superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • This image provided by NASA shows the Eastern Seaboard of the United States at night from a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite as Hurricane Sandy came ashore on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of the storm at 3:35 a.m. EDT. (AP Photo/NASA)This image provided by NASA shows the Eastern Seaboard of the United States at night from a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite as Hurricane Sandy came ashore on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of the storm at 3:35 a.m. EDT. (AP Photo/NASA)
  • A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, N.J., on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, N.J., on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
  • A man strolls along the sand as a burst of sunlight passes through the window of a beachfront house badly damaged in Superstorm Sandy in the Belle Harbor section of the Queens borough of New York on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)A man strolls along the sand as a burst of sunlight passes through the window of a beachfront house badly damaged in Superstorm Sandy in the Belle Harbor section of the Queens borough of New York on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
  • Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, N.J., reacts on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, as he looks at the debris of a home that washed up onto the Mantoloking Bridge the morning after Superstorm Sandy rolled through Mantoloking, N.J. Sandy caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, N.J., reacts on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, as he looks at the debris of a home that washed up onto the Mantoloking Bridge the morning after Superstorm Sandy rolled through Mantoloking, N.J. Sandy caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Rachael Alhadad greets some of her cats at her family's home in the Midland Beach section of New York's Staten Island on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The family's two-room rental house became mildewed after water from superstorm Sandy rose nearly to the ceiling on the first floor. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Rachael Alhadad greets some of her cats at her family's home in the Midland Beach section of New York's Staten Island on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The family's two-room rental house became mildewed after water from superstorm Sandy rose nearly to the ceiling on the first floor. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  • ** FILE ** New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks to a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, to talk about aid to help his state recover from superstorm Sandy. President Obama is expected to ask Congress for about $50 billion in additional emergency assistance. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)** FILE ** New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks to a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, to talk about aid to help his state recover from superstorm Sandy. President Obama is expected to ask Congress for about $50 billion in additional emergency assistance. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Damage caused by a fire in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York is shown on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The fire department sent more than 190 firefighters to the blaze caused by superstorm Sandy.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)Damage caused by a fire in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York is shown on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The fire department sent more than 190 firefighters to the blaze caused by superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
  • President Obama, accompanied by members of his Cabinet, speaks about superstorm Sandy at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. With him are (from second from the left) Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Obama, accompanied by members of his Cabinet, speaks about superstorm Sandy at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. With him are (from second from the left) Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • ** FILE ** A Christmas wreath is displayed on the second-floor porch railing of a home adjacent to the fire-damaged zone in the Breezy Point section of the New York borough of Queens on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. More than 100 homes burned to the ground during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)** FILE ** A Christmas wreath is displayed on the second-floor porch railing of a home adjacent to the fire-damaged zone in the Breezy Point section of the New York borough of Queens on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. More than 100 homes burned to the ground during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
  • A landscaper loads mulch into a wheelbarrow at a beachfront home in Fairfield, Conn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. The national economy is expected to absorb the blow from superstorm Sandy with little long-term damage, but in the short term, at least, Sandy is introducing dramatic booms and busts across the Northeast. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A landscaper loads mulch into a wheelbarrow at a beachfront home in Fairfield, Conn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. The national economy is expected to absorb the blow from superstorm Sandy with little long-term damage, but in the short term, at least, Sandy is introducing dramatic booms and busts across the Northeast. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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“We have kicked the can down the road for far too long. We’re not going to do it anymore,” said Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat. “The American people deserve certainty. The only way to have that certainty is to make sure that we start paying for things. And one way to do that is have the richest of the rich pay a little bit more.”

The mixed messages on spending have added to the murky nature of the fiscal cliff negotiations, in which Democrats and Republicans are fighting over the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts and the $110 billion in automatic cuts to domestic and defense spending that were included in the deal reached last year to increase the nation’s borrowing limit.

Democrats want to raise taxes on families making at least $250,000 a year, and Republicans are calling for cost-saving reforms to the nation’s entitlement programs, such as Medicare.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner met Sunday at the White House in an attempt to jump-start the stalled talks — though they refused to elaborate on the details of their conversations.

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