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$50.5 Billion Sandy Aid Bill Passes in Senate

The Senate approval sends the bill on to President Obama who has agreed to sign it.

The United States Senate Monday night approved the long-awaited $50.7 billion emergency aid bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy in a 62-36 vote, reported The Hill.

The House approved the measure on Jan. 15. So the Senate approval sends the bill on to President Obama, who has already agreed to sign it.

The $50.7 billion in aid — along with a nearly $10 billion that Congress approved earlier this month — will help provide assistance to homeowners and business owners in the northeast who experienced losses as a direct result of the storm. 

It also will provide money to states to repair subway and commuter rail systems, fix bridges and tunnels and reimburse local governments for emergency expenditures.

The bill does not include money for states outside the Northeast. But Republicans insisted that other weather-related disasters in other parts of the country should be dealt with at another time.  

They also accused Democrats of stuffing the aid bill with ancillary pork spending, pressing the importance of how to offset the bill’s cost.

“It has already been three months,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La) regarding the bill’s delay over arguments about offsetting spending. “We should not use disasters to push ideology, and that’s what the other side has been doing.”

“This is not perfect, but it’s a very sound bill,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md). “But let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good.”

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