06:00 - Source: State of New Jersey
Christie: Boehner wouldn't take my calls

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NEW: Senate approves bill following House passage

Extra funding in original Sandy bill included money for fisheries

Congress will consider more help for Sandy victims later this month

Sandy victims need help from debt-ridden government insurance program

Washington CNN —  

Congress approved a $9.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package on Friday following delays over fiscal cliff bickering, warnings of dwindling federal funds and swirling controversy over millions of dollars for unrelated projects.

The measure passed the House, 354-67. The Senate did so unanimously and without debate.

It was the first legislative action of the new Congress, which picked up the Sandy package after the previous session on Tuesday shelved a vote on a much larger assistance plan for storm victims, infuriating New York and New Jersey politicians.

Lawmakers from both houses will weigh in on $51 billion in additional Sandy aid on January 15. But that larger portion will likely face much closer scrutiny in a Congress anticipating more acrimony over spending and debt in coming months.

House leaders initially balked at immediate consideration of a big spending bill just after concluding the excruciating negotiations around the fiscal cliff.