WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate on Friday approved the $60.4 billion superstorm Sandy disaster relief bill after a day of debate and votes on amendments, sending the legislation to the U.S. House for its final but uncertain step in Congress.
The Sandy aid package, proposed by the White House, passed 62 to 32 in a bipartisan vote, though the bill needed only a simple majority.
The aid bill now goes to the GOP-controlled House, where it faces objections by Republicans who oppose disaster aid on principle, want to see the amount of funding reduced, or demand cuts to other federal spending to pay for the bill.
The bill is expected to take a backseat to the last-minute deal on the "fiscal cliff" being negotiated between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by Sunday when the Senate and House reconvenes.
"Right now, the leaders in both houses and both parties are focusing on the fiscal cliff, but the reality is that we have to get the hurricane supplemental done," said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).
"The Senate membership has our respect and gratitude for voting to deliver to the people of our states the resources we need to recover and to move quickly, aggressively, and responsibly with efforts to rebuild and strengthen our states after the historic devastation of Hurricane Sandy."
The governors urged "the House to act swiftly this weekend . . . "