Published December 28, 2012
The Senate on Friday approved a $60.4 billion aid package to pay for reconstruction costs from Superstorm Sandy, after defeating Republican efforts to trim the bill's cost.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to quickly take up the bill.
Both chambers have to agreed on a package by Jan 2, when the current term of Congress is expected to end, or restart the process of crafting legislation in 2013.
The bill's chances in the next few days could depend on whether President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reach a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts set to begin kicking in the new year.
Republicans complain the $60.4 billion reconstruction package requested by Obama is more than the annual budgets for the departments of Interior, Labor, Treasury and Transportation combined. They have urged a slower relief approach based on a congressional assessment of needs.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated about $8.97 billion of the Senate bill would be spent in 2013, with another $12.66 billion spent in 2014 and $11.59 billion spent in 2015