A $51 billion aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims easily passed the Senate on Monday (01/28/2013), after the failure of a Republican amendment to require the relief be offset by cuts to other federal spending.
President Barack Obama signed into law a $50.5 billion emergency measure for Superstorm Sandy victims.
Federal funds are crucial to repair the devastation from Hurricane Sandy but local government and private sector leaders should be responsible for distributing those funds, speakers at a briefing on Superstorm Sandy reconstruction financing said Wednesday.
The Senate has scheduled its vote for Monday on a $50.5-billion relief package for devastated areas in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut that the House passed on Tuesday. Both chambers earlier approved about $9 billion in relief.
The new bill directs more than $10 billion to the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make infrastructure improvements, a sticking point for some House Republicans who said infrastructure improvements should not be part of emergency relief.
More than $60 billion in Superstorm Sandy aid, approved and under consideration, includes:
- $17 billion for Community Development Block Grants, allowing states and localities to get aid where it is most needed
- $5.35 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, critical for rebuilding New Jersey’s weakened coastal defenses
- $12 billion to restore transportation systems, including the rebuilding of roads and the restoration of transit systems and ports
- And billions more for immediate recovery needs including construction of new houses, financing and support for small businesses affected by the storm, and infrastructure reconstruction, including energy and water/wastewater.