The House approved $50.7 billion in emergency relief for the victims of Superstorm Sandy tonight as Republican leaders struggled to close out an episode that exposed party divisions. The 241-180 vote came more than 10 weeks after the storm brutalized parts of the Northeast. The Senate is expected to accept the measure early next week and send it to President Obama for his signature. Democrats supported the aid in large numbers, and there was substantial Republican backing, too.
Democrats were more politically pointed as they brushed back Southern conservatives who sought either to reduce the measure or offset part of its cost through spending cuts elsewhere. "I just plead with my colleagues not to have a double standard," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York. "Not to vote tornado relief to Alabama, to Louisiana, to Mississippi, Missouri, to—with Ike, Gustav, Katrina, Rita—but when it comes to the Northeast, with the second worst storm in the history of our country, to delay, delay, delay." The Senate approved a $60 billion measure in the final days of the Congress that expired on Jan. 3, but the House postponed an expected quick vote on the measure.