The Senate approved the remaining $50.5 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy victims on Monday afternoon, closing the chapter on a measure that became mired in controversy earlier this month.
The legislation passed by a vote of 62-36, with Republicans broadly opposed.The funds, which have already passed the House, will help cities and towns in the northeast rebuild homes and infrastructure that were destroyed during the storm late October. Thousands of Americans remain displaced from their homes and many more are without electricity.
Congress began by issuing the first $9.7 billion, which covers flood insurance, in the first week of January. Monday’s vote finalized the remaining dollars.
Prior to the final vote, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to offset the cost of the relief with spending cuts that Democrats warned would have threatened passage of the legislation.
The Senate had originally passed the full $60 billion in aid last month, but a surprise decision by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to cancel the House vote in the waning hours of the 112th Congress forced both chambers to start over. The decision led to scathing public criticism of Boehner from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and New York Republican Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm, among others. Boehner quickly eased the fallout.
Correction: This post originally misidentified Rep. Peter King as “Steve” King, who is a Republican congressman from Iowa. We regret the error.