Congress OKs $50B Sandy Aid Bill

Lawmakers win battle against fiscal conservatives
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2013 6:00 PM CST
In this Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, Brian Hajeski, 41, reacts as he looks at debris of a home that washed up on to the Mantoloking Bridge after Superstorm Sandy rolled through in Mantoloking, NJ.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
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(Newser) – Congress is sending a $50.5 billion emergency relief measure for Superstorm Sandy victims to President Obama for his signature. The Senate today cleared the bill, 62-36. Northeast lawmakers say the money is desperately needed to help recovery efforts from the one of the region's worst storms. The House passed the bill two weeks ago. The measure is aimed primarily at helping residents and businesses as well as state and local governments rebuild from the Oct. 29 storm.

It passed despite opposition from fiscal conservatives worried about adding to deficits. Sandy roared up the East Coast and has been blamed for more than 130 deaths and billions of dollars in residential and business property damage. The biggest chunk of money is $16 billion for Housing and Urban Development Department community development block grants. Of that, about $12 billion will be shared among Sandy victims as well as those from other federally declared disasters in 2011-2013. Obama has said he will sign the bill. (Read more Hurricane Sandy stories.)

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