Update: Superstorm Sandy aid bill heads to Obama's desk after Senate approval
The House of Representatives finally approved on Tuesday a long-awaited $50.7 billion in full disaster aid for victims in states impacted by Superstorm Sandy in late October.
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 at 192 votes, while majority Republicans opposed it by a lopsided margin with only 49 joining in passing the storm aid.
In separate votes, the House approved $17 billion in immediate disaster funds targeting largely New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as $33.5 billion in funds for longer-term reconstruction projects.
House Republicans, however, managed to cut some specific spending from the bill through amendments.
The approved $50.7 billion, along with last week's $9.7 billion in aid packages, seek to provide for the huge needs that have arisen since the hurricane struck more than two months ago in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other states.
Though the package does not cover the entire $82 billion in damage identified by the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, leaders from the storm-ravaged region expressed relief over the action in the Republican-controlled House, where storm aid had become ensnared in the larger debate over spending and deficits.
Sandy affected 24 states, including the entire eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine and west across the Appalachian Mountains to Michigan and Wisconsin, with particularly severe damage in New Jersey and New York.
It produced record waves and storm surge that hit both the New York and New Jersey coasts on October 29, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines.