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$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.

vic January 30, 2013 at 06:32 AM
the flood insurance adjuster told me that the flood policies were specifically written that way so that it would be difficult to collect on the policy unless your exact living space was effected. the first question that FEMA asks is "is this your primary residence, and if so, do you have flood insurance". if it's not your primary, you get not help from FEMA, and if you have flood insurance, you get not help from FEMA.
jerseyswamps January 30, 2013 at 08:37 AM
How do you know? I hope it's true. I always tell people not to use google maps to find my place. It always takes them several blocks away.
Martin January 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Let's all send that error info to Christie and our NJ members of congress ASAP -- so the wacky FEMA ultimatum can be corrected before we're all hit with exorbitant elevation requirements and ridiculously elevated annual flood insurance premiums.
CJ January 31, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Reading these comments are so sad...truely sad. I cannot believe how our middle aged (50-60) and elderly (60+) have allowed policits to get so damned polarizing. You've been asleep at the switch blaming everyone but yourself!!! Now it's time for the younger voters of the country to fix this fine mess - shame on you!!!
Dame Bridgid January 31, 2013 at 01:36 PM
I think the entire lot of them should be voted out. The Republicans for whining ineffectively without forming an alternative bill. The Democrats for voting in the pork. They both should have been able to compromise by going line by line to offer justification for these questionable expenses. I can see the benefit from satellites for advance weather warnings now that they have gutted NASA.... but why provide funds for what is essentially a slush fund that has been defunded? The point is; they ALL work for us. We SHOULD ask them to account for what they spend our money on. We are the one who will be paying it back. Heaven knows they ALL had plenty of time to actually do their jobs.

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