Imagine being without heat or power since Halloween. Seem like a nightmare?
It’s the nightmare that home owners and businesses have been facing since lawmakers dropped a Hurricane Sandy relief bill four weeks ago that sparked bipartisan fury from the Northeast.
But on Monday evening, the Senate finally approved more than $50 billion in aid to states battered by the superstorm. The money will include grants for homeowners and businesses, as well as funding for public improvement projects on the electrical grid, hospitals and transit systems to prevent damage from future storms.
The vote, 62-36, came after senators turned back an attempt to require budget cuts elsewhere to offset the cost of storm relief.
“For decades, taxpayers from New York have sent their money when disasters occurred, with fires on the West Coast or floods in the Missouri and Mississippi valleys or hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. “We’ve sent our tax dollars, billions of them — and now, all of a sudden, some are suggesting we should change the rules when we are hit by the first major disaster to hit the New York City region in a very long time. That’s not fair. That’s not right.”
In a statement from the White House, President Barack Obama said he would sign the measure as soon as it hit his desk.
The superstorm killed at least 113 people in the U.S. and left tens of thousands of families displaced and without adequate heat to deal with the winter cold.
It’s been over 90 days since the region has been left without aid.
We’re glad the Senate got this measure passed, but shame on them for letting it drop the first time around!