Yesterday evening the Senate finally passed a $50.5 billion emergency relief bill to aid Hurricane Sandy victims still suffering from the ill-effects of the storm. The vote comes four weeks late, after Speaker John Boehner announced that the House’s vote on the bill would be postponed until the 113th Congress was sworn in. After outrage spewed from both parties and their constituents in response to Boehner’s news, the House hastened its schedule and the package was given the okay on January 15th. The package, which was approved 62-36 by the Democratic-controlled Senate on Monday, now goes to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
The package will provide $10 billion to repair public transport infrastructure, $5.3 billion to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund, and $16 billion in grants for municipalities to rebuild homes and businesses through the Housing and Urban Development Department. More than three months after the storm, tens of thousands of families are still without homes or adequate heating and many businesses remain shuttered.
The bill will also provide more than a billion dollars for projects to protect the coastlines of New York, including building seawalls and protective dunes and restoring beaches.