$51 Billion Sandy Aid Approved in Senate, Heads to President's Desk
U.S. Senate approved the measure 62-36.
A $51.7 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package was approved by the U.S. Senate Monday evening, two weeks after narrowly gaining approval in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill was approved easily by a 62-36 margin and will proceed to President Barack Obama's desk to be adopted into law.
The disaster funding joins a separate bill of more than $9 billion approved by Congress to fund the National Flood Insurance Program, a necessary step in paying insurance claims of the east coast's flood victims.
In all, $60.4 billion in Sandy-related aid is expected to be signed into law by the President.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-4, lauded the Senate's passage of the aid bill in a statement released Monday night.
"This legislation brings the total federal appropriations to $60.4 billion, offering significant assistance to begin a robust and sustainable recovery,” he said. "The predictability and certainty that comes with passing this aid ensures that the work proceeds faster, comprehensively, and without interruption."
The relief package, HR 152, passed in Congress 241-180, with 179 of the no votes coming from Congressional Republicans. Despite challenges from the GOP, the bill passed thanks to the votes of local legislators and sympathetic Republicans from other disaster-stricken areas.
Rep. Jon Runyan, R-3, said the funding will be used efficiently and effectively to aid in recovery.
"With Senate passage, and the President’s eventual signature, these dollars will go to help families and businesses in New Jersey rebuild," he said in a statement. "The Northeast has waited too long for these critical dollars, however, I am glad that the final product of this legislation is focused specifically on regions directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy."
In a statement, Obama pledged a commitment to the victims of Sandy, indicating that he would sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches his desk.
"My Administration remains committed to supporting our state and local partners and bringing every resource to bear as we help our neighbors rebuild. And we will continue to work closely with Governors and mayors to ensure this money is used appropriately," he said in a released statement.