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Congress sends $61.9 billion storm Sandy aid bill to Obama

Published on Jan 29, 2013 9:07 AM
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) (2nd L) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) listen during a news conference after a vote on the Superstorm Sandy Relief Bill January 28, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate has approved the more than $50 billion package to aid the rebuilding after the storm. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Congress on Monday finally approved more than US$50 billion (S$61.9 billion) in emergency disaster aid for Hurricane Sandy, 13 weeks after the superstorm ravaged much of the coastal United States northeast and left thousands homeless.

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

The US$50.5 billion in immediate and short-term funding forms the bulk of the US$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, with the bulk of the damage occurring in New Jersey and New York.

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

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