Despite a two-week delay after being stripped from the fiscal cliff package, the long-awaited $50.7 billion emergency aid bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy passed Tuesday night in the Republican-controlled House, 241 to 180, reported The New York Times.
The package falls $30 billion short of the original $82 billion requested by governors in the northeastern states affected by the hurricane.
But the $50.7 billion — along with a nearly $10 billion in aid that Congress approved earlier this month — will help provide assistance to homeowners and business owners who experienced losses as a direct result of the storm.
The aid also will provide money to states to repair subway and commuter rail systems, fix bridges and tunnels and reimburse local governments for emergency expenditures.
“In the past, Congress has always set aside partisan gridlock and come together to help Americans suffering from natural disasters. We have finally done that for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Help is on the way to people in communities like Coney Island, Sea Gate, Carnarsie, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach and Howard Beach that were ravaged last October,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who represents the 8th District of central Brooklyn.
Peter T. King, a Republican congressman from Long Island, hailed the move by Congress as a huge victory for storm victims but expressed disappointment over the House’s failure to act earlier: “It is unfortunate that we had to fight so hard to be treated the same as every other state has been treated,” said King.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to pass the measure swiftly.