Senate Passes $50.5 Billion Disaster Relief Bill

Bill passes U.S. Senate 62-36, just enough of a minimum required for approval.

The U.S. Senate narrowly approved a $50.5 billion federal aid bill for New York and neighboring states three months after they sustained the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. 

The bill passed Monday night by a vote of 62-36, just beyond the 60-vote minimum required for approval in the Senate, with Democrats unanimously voting in favor of the legislation.

Via his Facebook page Monday, Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, said, "Our communities need this immediate and long-term assistance and the federal government has responded thanks to a bipartisan effort in Congress."

Bishop noted that the bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who held a press conference in Point Lookout on Sunday about the legislation and the specific projects the funds provides to storm-damaged communities from the New Jersey Shore to Long Beach to Montauk, said after Monday’s vote:  

"At long last, relief is now coming to our homeowners who need to rebuild, small businesses who are trying to reopen, and communities that have laid out billions of dollars for repairs after the storm.”

Before the vote, Sen. Michael Lee, a Republican from Utah, called for an amendment to institute a percent federal spending cut to the forthcoming nine years to pay for the Sandy aid, but both Democrats and Republicans rejected it by a 62-35 vote, according to Newsday.

Along with Congress’s approval of $9.7 billion bill for national flood insurance claims that was approved Jan. 4, the $50.7 billion legislation will deliver about $60 billion in aid that Obama requested Dec. 7. 


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