The U.S. Senate narrowly approved a $50.5 billion federal aid bill for New York and neighboring states three months after the region sustained major damage from 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. President Obama must now sign the bill, which is expected
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), 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.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of the Senate’s approval of the legislation, “Despite the difficult path in getting to this moment, the Senate membership clearly recognized early on the urgency and necessity of approving the full aid package and its importance in rebuilding our battered infrastructure and getting our millions of affected residents back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
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 congressional approval of a $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 President Obama requested on Dec. 7.