The Sandy relief bill finally completed its passage through Congress on Monday, three months after the superstorm devastated Long Island, the tri-state area and much of the northeast.
Federal, state and local lawmakers cheered the U.S. Senate passing the final $51 billion of the $60 billion relief package—a bill that the U.S. House of Representatives infamously failed to pass four weeks ago amid the fiscal cliff negotiations. The Senate, which had already approved the funding, had to pass the bill a second time after House GOP leaders balked and the new session started.
“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,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Conn.Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement.
The funding will be allocated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers and other agencies coordinating projects to rebuild areas damaged by the Oct. 29 storm.
“We now must remain vigilant to make sure these dollars move to the people who need it most, because at this point, aid delayed is aid denied,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).
After the Republican House leadership initially refused to bring the Sandy bill up for a vote after the New Year, it later passed Jan. 15. The initial $9 billion in funding was approved late last year.
President Barack Obama released a statement shortly after the bill passed that he looks for to signing it and “had hoped Congress would provide this aid sooner.”