The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved $50.7 billion in emergency relief for Superstorm Sandy victims Tuesday night, ending an episode that exposed painful party divisions more than 10 weeks after the storm brutalized parts of the heavily populated Northeast.
The vote was 241-180, and officials said the Senate was likely to accept the measure early next week and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature. Democrats supported the aid in large numbers, but there was substantial Republican backing, too, in the Republican-controlled House.
"We are not crying wolf here," said Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, one of a group of Northeastern lawmakers from both parties who sought House passage of legislation roughly in line with what the Obama administration and governors of the affected states have sought.
Sandy roared through several states in late October and has been blamed for 140 deaths and billions of dollars in residential and business property damage, much of it in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It led to power outages and interruptions to public transportation that made life miserable for millions, and the clamour for federal relief began almost immediately.
Democrats were more politically pointed as they brushed back Southern conservatives who sought either to reduce the measure or offset part of its cost through spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.