A month of outrage later, Senate passes Sandy relief

Updated 11:53 AM EST, Tue January 29, 2013

Story highlights

NEW: Obama says he'll sign the storm relief bill "as soon as it hits my desk"

The Senate approves a $50 billion relief package for Superstorm Sandy victims

Senators voted down a call to offset that spending with other cuts

The House's failure to vote on relief in December outraged politicians from both parties

The Senate approved more than $50 billion in aid to states battered by Superstorm Sandy on Monday, four weeks after a delay that sparked bipartisan fury from Northeastern lawmakers.

The money includes grant funding for owners of homes and businesses, as well as funding for public improvement projects on the electrical grid, hospitals and transit systems to prevent damage from future storms. In a statement from the White House, President Barack Obama said he would sign the measure “as soon as it hits my desk.”

The 62-36 vote came after senators turned back an attempt to require budget cuts elsewhere to offset the cost of storm relief, a proposal that further irked several members.

“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.”

House passes Sandy aid package

Sandy killed at least 113 people in the United States, flooded much of lower Manhattan and Long Island and smashed New Jersey seaside towns when it struck October 29. Tens of thousands of families are still displaced or lack adequate heat to deal with the winter cold that included an Arctic blast last week.

Nicola Chati, a resident of New York’s Staten Island, said living in temporary housing has been “really hard on the kids.”