.

$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.

Emmaline January 29, 2013 at 12:54 PM
The House voted against the bill --the senate voted for the bill. That means the majority of republicans voted against the bill and democrats voted it in.
Jim January 29, 2013 at 12:57 PM
If all 100% of the money went to Sandy the bill would have been defeated in the Democratic controlled Senate. The bill was passed by the House or it would't have made it to the Senate.
Emmaline January 29, 2013 at 01:05 PM
What is wrong with you Paul. There were two bills. This last bill is the one Christie and two other republicans were upset about that John Boehner said they would vote on. They did. The No votes came from republicans The House is the republicans which means that the majority of republicans voted against the bill read the article--179 republicans voted against Sandy Aid. The Senate passed it which was majority democrats.
Emmaline January 29, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Ok What was the pork???
Diogenes January 29, 2013 at 01:13 PM
You can find out the names of the 36 Republican senators who voted against the bill by going to the US Senate website. Among those who voted against the bill was Republican Senator Pat Toomey from the Phila. area. He used to be an official with the so-called "Club for Growth", essentially a group that subscribes to the "makers/takers" view of America (the Northeast hurricane victims being the takers, of course). In the House, 179 Republicans voted against Hurricane Sandy relief. These are Tea Party members and fellow travelers. All Northeast Republican rank and file party members/voters should remember this when the Republican Party comes calling for your contributions during the next election. They are heartless, mean-spirited individuals without a shred of human compassion. And hypocrites beside that, for they repeatedly fight for a place at the trough to get federal government goodies for their own states.
Emmaline January 29, 2013 at 01:16 PM
False no pork in the bill--Christie told you that and people watch these entertainers on tv and believe every lie they tell. The pork lie is an excuse to make republicans look good for not giving the money.
Emmaline January 29, 2013 at 01:17 PM
The republicans held it up with the pork lie. The house never passed the bill the senate did.
Opinionated January 29, 2013 at 01:38 PM
The bill passed, hooray! Now they can fix those fisheries in Alaska! Sandy had to have been the "perfect storm" to hit NJ, NY, Mississippi, and Alska all at once!
Edward Dooley Jr. January 29, 2013 at 01:53 PM
They should have had the funds out before Thanksgiving. Katrina and Haiti got help right after their disasters. Congress is a disgrace in America and needs to be replaced along with Potus.. These Bozos screwed the East Coast on this storm but God for bid if we don't send our payment to Washington. They should rename D.C. to Clown City USA or Bozo World...
Cranky HR Guy January 29, 2013 at 01:53 PM
I implore each of you who are blaming anyone for voting against this bill to READ THE BILL! It cites hundreds of millions in PORK. Examples: Over 25 MILLION for Head Start programs. 3 BILLION for Amtrak, though they had storm losses totaling less than 10% of that amount.... a couple million for a museum roof in DC, not damaged by the storm... the list goes on and on.... We could have spent 30 Billion to go directly to help those directly impacted, but now are saddled with twice as much debt to feed pork projects. FOOLS
Paul Ryans a tool January 29, 2013 at 01:55 PM
feel free to deport yourself to a third world country like Texas
Paul Ryans a tool January 29, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Bush lied about Iraq pass it on
Tjr January 29, 2013 at 02:51 PM
As Pelosi says "We must pass the bill to find out what's in it"
Fred RBPatch January 29, 2013 at 04:26 PM
For starters Emmaline, Mind you, this is entitled "Sandy Relief Fund": Two billion dollars is for highway repairs anywhere in the country covered by any disaster declaration in 2011, 2012 or yet to occur in the next ten years – including up to $20 million each for American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands – that aren't even in the same ocean as Hurricane Sandy. Sixteen billion dollars (about $150 for your family) goes to quintuple the Community Development Block Grant Program. That's a political slush fund that pays for such projects as a “Doggie Day Care Center” in Ohio and a “Day at the Circus” for Nyack, New York. The program's legal authorization expired in 1994, and since then, the Office of Management and Budget has repeatedly branded it “ineffective,” the bureaucracy's polite term for unaccountable. Last year, Congress appropriated $3.4 billion for this program; the Hurricane relief bill knocks it up to nearly $20 billion, with no requirement that it be spent in the Hurricane zone. Another $6 billion is earmarked for future public transit programs entirely unrelated to any storm damage. There's $111 million for weather satellites. How can a hurricane damage an orbiting weather satellite? Good question. We might need more or better weather satellites or data, but that can hardly be called “emergency repairs and relief.” And you want to know why the Republicans took so long to vote on? Because the Dems INFLATED IT, for themselves!
Opinionated January 29, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Like Obamacare!
Fred RBPatch January 29, 2013 at 04:39 PM
What's wrong with YOU, Emmaline? The Dems destroyed the bill by adding so much PORK! If the Dems really wanted to help the victims of Sandy, they would have said, "strip the pork, and let's vote on just the Sandy related relief". But, No-o-o, Schumer and the rest of his money hungry clan decided to hold the victims of Sandy hostage by wanting it to include money for NON-SANDY RELATED projects. that's called "PORK".
Fred RBPatch January 29, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Emmaline- Trying reading the bill itself, instead of quoting sound bites from Entertainment tonight. If you have to ask "what pork is in it?", then you are debating about something you don't know enough to debate.
TR Rez January 29, 2013 at 06:38 PM
FYI, you need to verify that your address is correct on the ABFE maps, I went down to municipal bldg in Toms River, they printed the map out for me with my address & it is not my house, it is not even my street. The house they pulled up is in a V zone. We then went & clicked on my house & the address in the window was incorrect for my house, but the zone was correct, I'm in an A zone. I went on Google Maps & its incorrect there, I sent and error report to Google & got a response that they will email me when it is corrected. My whole neighborhood is incorrect on those maps. Am I the only person that has found this problem?
ANNIEO January 29, 2013 at 07:13 PM
YOU MEANT THEY'RE (THEY ARE) THEIR IS A POSSESSIVE
Mick Foley January 29, 2013 at 08:27 PM
thanks for the grammer lesson jackson - get over it - its just the comment section for racist, ignorant leftist rants for followers of the kenyan.
Mick Foley January 29, 2013 at 08:32 PM
(a) why is haiti relevant (b) the people in haiti are still living in washer and dryer boxes just like they were before the storm (c) who cares about haiti (d) he is the kenyan not the potus.
re-tired January 30, 2013 at 12:21 AM
The addresses on my street have the odd numbers on the east side and even on the west exactly backwards, map is all skewed in point pleasant also.Must have been a rush job!!
shorecorruption January 30, 2013 at 01:36 AM
They used the Google map for elevations,
Patty January 30, 2013 at 01:53 AM
All 36 were republicans.
BLDShamrock January 30, 2013 at 03:42 AM
So, how about a little help for all of us who have flood insurance and are being denied coverage of structural damages and can't ask FEMA for assistance? You do what you think is the right thing and pay for insurance....then you get a nice slap in the face.
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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