Congress OKs Sandy aid, 13 weeks on

AFP-JIJI

Congress on Monday finally approved more than $50 billion in emergency disaster aid for Hurricane Sandy, 13 weeks after the superstorm ravaged much of the coastal U.S. northeast.

The bill, approved earlier this month by the House, comes after a nearly monthlong delay triggered bipartisan rage that Republican lawmakers were politicizing relief funding and seeking to offset the costly legislation with federal spending cuts at a time of crisis for thousands of Americans.

The $50.5 billion in immediate and short-term funding forms the bulk of the $60.2 billion in total aid approved by Congress for victims of the storm, which killed 120 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses mostly in New Jersey and New York.

A $9.7 billion tranche providing emergency flood relief funding was approved earlier in January.

Monday’s bill, which needed to surpass a 60-vote threshold, passed 62-36 and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.