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US Congress approves $12b aid for storm Sandy victims

Published on Jan 5, 2013 6:02 AM
A storm-damaged home awaits demolition on Jan 4, 2013 in the New Dorp area of the Staten Island borough of New York City. More than two months after Superstorm Sandy, -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) Congress finally approved emergency disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy on Friday, but only after a delay that sparked East Coast Republican outrage against their own party leadership.

The House voted 354-67 to provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) with US$9.7 billion (S$12 billion) to pay the flood insurance claims of thousands of victims of the killer October storm that devastated coastal communities.

The legislation, just a wedge of a much larger package sought by the White House, then breezed through the Senate by voice vote, and goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

"We should not have parades down the street because this bill has passed," said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who has spearheaded efforts to speed up congressional approval for aid.

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