Senate Approves $60.4 Billion Hurricane Sandy Aid Bill

Melissa Stusinski

The Senate has passed a bill that will give $60.4 billion in aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy, which was backed by the body's Democrats.

Democrats fought for the bill, turning back Republican efforts to take away $150 million in fisheries aid and other things that Republicans described as unrelated to the storm.

Fox News reports that, despite the objections, the bill was still able to pass the Senate on a 62-32 vote. While it was able to pass the Senate, the bill for Hurricane Sandy relief faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives.

Several members of the GOP are reluctant to move fast on a bill that would hand out a lot of money, especially on the eve of the so-called fiscal cliff, where automatic tax hikes and spending cuts are set to hit January 1.

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Eastern seaboard when it hit, battering the coastline from North Carolina to Maine. The storm also destroyed more than one million homes and businesses, affecting hundreds of thousands more.

Senate Republicans failed in their attempt to pass a much smaller bill that would have given $24 billion in aid to the most costly natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Yahoo! News notes that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged the House to take up the bill and vote quickly, so that those in need of the aid money can get it as soon as possible. Reid added, "there is no time to waste."

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), whose state suffered the largest damage in the storm, as far as monetary value goes, stated:

"We beat back all of the crippling amendments. The century-old tradition of different parts of the country rallying to help those who are beleaguered because of difficult natural disasters continues."