Sen. Murphy: Passage Of Bill Will Be 'A Heavy Lift'

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP)Newtown, Conn. officials decided last week to tear down and rebuild Sandy Hook Elementary School.

But Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have called on the federal government to bear some of the cost.

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Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation are attempting to secure federal funds to help Newtown build a new Sandy Hook Elementary after last year’s shooting rampage that left six educators and 20 first graders dead. They say many senators owe the residents after failing to support federal legislation that would have expanded background checks for certain gun purchases.

Sens. Murphy and Blumenthal, and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, all Democrats, said Thursday they plan to offer legislation next week that would modify an existing grant that funds mental health counselors and overtime costs after tragedies such as the Dec. 14 shooting.

“I hope that we will get bipartisan support for this piece of legislation and we hope that senators who may have done the wrong thing on the gun legislation will do the right thing when it comes to helping Sandy Hook rebuild their school,” Murphy told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. “There were a lot of senators who turned their backs on Newtown a month ago when they voted against the background checks bill. This legislation will give some of those senators a second chance to step up to the plate and help the families of Newtown.”

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Blumenthal said his colleagues have asked how they can help. He said supporting this measure would be a great place to start.

“The no votes that were cast, it is at least a down payment or a step in the right direction and it shows that they are keeping faith and showing good faith,” Blumenthal told Schneidau.

Murphy noted passage of this bill will be “a heavy lift” because the federal government does not fund school construction.

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