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Bishop Lauds House Approval of $50.7B Sandy Relief Bill

Funds will assist areas across Long Island impacted by Hurricane Sandy — though the Senate has yet to vote.

More than two months after Superstorm Sandy devastated much of Long Island's south shore, the House of Representatives approved a $50.7 billion emergency relief bill on Tuesday, set to provide relief for families and businesses trying to recover.

The passage came after outcry from many elected officials, including some Long Islanders who went down to Washington to lobby for the relief package.

U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, a Southampton Democrat whose district spans much of Suffolk County, welcomed Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to D.C. on Tuesday.

"With a bipartisan vote, emergency relief for our storm-damaged communities took a big step forward tonight," Bishop said on his Facebook page after Tuesday's vote. "I urge the Senate to act quickly to approve this strong level of support for the people who need it."

The emergency bill passed with 241 votes in favor and 180 opposed, though some partisanship remained. Only 49 Republicans voted in favor of the relief bill, while 179 opposed it.

Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said, "There are times when a disaster simply goes beyond our ability to budget. Hurricane Sandy is one of those times."

The damage on Long Island was extensive, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said restoration costs could top $8 billion.

The $50.7 billion relief bill comes about two weeks after the last Congress passed a much smaller $9.7 billion package, which wrapped up a highly charged debate around the House's failure to vote on a $60.4 billion Sandy aid bill on Jan. 1.

"The vote in the House of Representatives to approve federal aid for states affected by Hurricane Sandy is a welcome relief for New Yorkers and all homeowners, businesses, and communities that were hit by the storm," Cuomo said.

The House measure passed Tuesday included $16 billion to repair New York and New Jersey transit systems and a similar amount for housing and other needs in the areas affected by the October storm.

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