Obama Sends $50.5 billion Sandy Relief Package to States
By Jim Malewitz, Staff Writer
Federal aid is finally headed to the Atlantic Coast states, three months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged their shores.
President Obama Tuesday night (January 29) signed a $50.5 billion emergency relief package approved by Congress late Monday.
The money will help people in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other states repair damaged or destroyed homes, while compensating businesses owners who saw huge losses and helping governments repair infrastructure along the coast. The largest piece of the package, about $16 billion, will fund federal block grants for housing. Much of that will be shared among victims of Sandy and other recent disasters.
That package, which comes in addition $9.7 billion approved earlier this month to replenish the National Flood Insurance Program, had met resistance from some congressional Republicans, who criticized its size and argued the spending should be offset by cuts elsewhere. That sparked outrage among governors in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
But the governors’ tone changed following the legislation’s passage in the Senate.
“Despite the difficult path in getting to this moment,” they said in a joint statement, “the Senate membership clearly recognized early on the urgency and necessity of approving the full aid package and its importance in rebuilding our battered infrastructure and getting our millions of affected residents back on their feet as quickly as possible.