(CNN) - A bill providing billions of dollars of aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy passed the Senate late Friday, and senators from New York called on the House to take it up promptly.
If the House does not approve the $60.4 billion measure before the new Congress is sworn in Thursday, consideration would require the process to start over again.
The Senate approved the bill 61-33.
"Our goal is to get the House to vote. Just as they have a responsibility on fiscal cliff, they have a responsibility here on Sandy, and the fact that this was not a partisan bill should give impetus to put it on the House floor," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, at a press conference after the vote.
Congress also is wrangling over a deal to avoid the expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts which would trigger in 2013. Legislative leaders and President Barack Obama met Friday to discuss their self-imposed crisis.
Sandy killed at least 113 people in the U.S. and left millions of people without power after running up the East Coast in late October. The storm hit hardest in New York and New Jersey.
The bill includes grant funding for owners of homes and businesses, as well as funding for public improvement projects on the electric grid, hospitals and transit systems to order to prevent damage from future storms.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has put the storm-related costs at $41.9 billion, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has estimated a price tag of $36.8 billion.
The two governors, one Democrat and one Republican, have lobbied together for the measure, including separate trips to Washington for meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg applauded the measure “because the funding it contains is crucial for the thousands of residents and small businesses impacted by the storm.”
“Time is of the essence and any delay will further impede our ability to rebuild, impacting not only the city’s economy, but that of the entire nation,” he added, noting that nine weeks have passed since the storm hit.
Republicans in the Senate forced cost offsets for $3.5 billion in the bill. Republicans have argued that emergency aid measures should include spending cuts elsewhere, though Democrats have argued disaster aid should not come with such a requirement.
"Bottom line, this is a very strong bill," Schumer said. "Is it everything we asked for? No. But is it a huge, huge shot in the arm for New York and the national economy? New York is 10% of the national economy … We now need the House to act."
Uh, why are my taxes going to repair a city that represents everything I think is wrong with this country?
It took so long a time to come out with these bill for the aid of Sandy victims,explains that something is wrong in the system and how congress can cope with huge business of the national government expressly to meet the needs of victims when disasters strike us.Some sort of precedence should be given for this sort of bills to be processed so that people are not left in the lurch when in need.
i wouldn't hold my breath on it passing in the house. Good Luck, Mr. Shoomer.
Why are we calling ourselves the USA when a 'natural' catastrophe strikes and our legislative leaders, mostly from what I can see, the GOP/Tea Party, doesn't want to help out our our citizens. Too many so-called evangelical politicians do not show the love and care of Christ for the poor and oppressed and care more about the right to bear arms. Recently a couple of so-called evangelical leaders implied that the reason for Newton was the moral decay in our country due to abortion and gay rights. No, it's the moral decay of those who want to gut those programs that help the poor, single parents with children, those needing food stamps, the food program for needy children at school, changes to make Medicare into a voucher-type program, etc. Too many people are not paying close enough attention to what the GOP/Tea Party wants to cut while sparing the rich from paying their fair share. And what about all those corporations not paying any taxes at all or paying very little. What aren't we asking changes in this form of corporate welfare???America, you had better start paying attention to what any our politicians are proposing to do regardless of his/her party, but especially the GOP/Tea Party.
What about all the pork they put in this thing, the people are only going to get 10 billion of it. The rest was pork
The american people are so sick of this non-sense. let's do the work of the president's ideas he won the election with 60% of the people's vision of how things should be. two elected terms should mean he has the public behind him which means sucess is in the making. act now and avoid a bad face later in THE UNITED STATES'S HISTORY BOOKS.
There's $40 billion of pork in that bill, and it will never pass the House.
Dont worry,if that bill has to much pork because Christie loves pork.especially fried pork.
Republicans yet again betray the People – as usual the ones in most need – as they have been delaying and delaying any aid money to the multi-state victims of the Hurricane Sandy. It shows yet again Republicans in the Senate and House do not care about the American People unless you are rich and can offer them money, perks, and bribes for votes. This is the most non-human, unprincipled version of the Republican Party ever to exist. They are self-destructing while trying to take the middle class and the poor down with them. I have never seen such a Party of pure hate, bigotry, disdain for the poor, for the many ethnic groups of our nation, and such a band of intentional liars. They deserve no seats in our government for they do meet the standards of character, integrity, honor or basic humanity. They need to be all thrown out in 2014 – especially the Senate King of 386 filibusters for jobs, infrastructue, housing crisis help caused by their buddy banks, and even veterans benefits-Republican Mitch McConnell. No Republican should be allowed back into our houses of government for they are traitors ot the most basic human needs and their oath to serve the PEOPLE.
@RickMcDaniel,remember when the floods hit the North eastern states and they needed emergency assistence and all you heard was a bunch of republicans led by Cantor saying no help unless federal spending cuts matched emergency funds and his state Virginia was one of them..That's the extremist,ignorence coming out of republicans,never for anyone except their rich ,wealthy handlers right Rick!!If the wealthy had problems Cantor would wave his magic wand himself and all would be fixed wouldn't it,just pathedic and you idiots keep voting them back in,hilarious as well!!
The House won't pass it. They have very few members from the Northeast- besides the GOP hates people and helping them conflicts with their "principles".
How much you bet the House will not take up the Senate bill for discussion?