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Congress Passes $51B Aid Package for Hurricane Sandy Victims

The long-delayed bill now heads to President Obama, who is expected to quickly sign it into law.

Three months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast, causing more than $70 billion in damage to New York and New Jersey alone, Congress Monday passed a $51 billion aid package by a 62-to-36 vote, the Huffington Post reports.

The package, which is expected to be quickly signed into law by the president, "contains billions for a federal program providing cash grants to disaster victims and roughly $33 billion for long-term reconstruction of battered coastal areas," the Huffington Post reports.

The approval of the relief funds comes about four weeks after a New Year's Day congessional session failed to take action on the bill.

The inaction on the part of the House of Representatives outraged some Connecticut politicians, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner:

Your decision to postpone consideration of a disaster supplemental until after the 113th Congress commences likely delays delivery of relief for months, and therefore delays the process of rebuilding from Sandy. It sends a terrible message to the citizens of the affected states that the leadership of the House of Representatives feels no sense of urgency, with winter upon us, to aid fellow citizens in their great time of need as the Congress has done time and again when other natural disasters have devastated communities elsewhere in the country.

According to the Huffington Post, the delay was tied to Republicans who argued the relief money should be offset by cuts to other federal spending. That amendment eventually failed.

Lucia January 30, 2013 at 12:42 PM
The bill is loaded full of graft and pork barrel projects, like the following items: $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms. $197 million “to… protect coastal ecosystems and habitat impacted by Hurricane Sandy.” $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska. $10.78 billion for public transportation, “most of which is allocated to future construction and improvements, not disaster relief.” $17 billion for wasteful Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), “a program that has become notorious for its use as a backdoor earmark program.”

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