Senate recesses until Friday in anticipation of House action on Sandy bill

The Senate passed its own supplemental bill at the very end of the last Congress, which cost $60.4 billion, but because the House did not take up that bill during the 112th Congress, the process starts all over for the new Senate.

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The House will vote to pass a $9 billion bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy, which hit Northeastern states in October. Another vote will be held on Jan. 15 that would spend another $51 billion, making it the same amount as the Senate passed version and what President Obama requested.

The $9 billion needs to be passed sooner than the rest because the National Flood Insurance Program will run out of money as early as Jan. 7.

The Senate recessed instead of adjourning because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) does not want to end what would be considered the first legislative day of the new 113th Congress. He is working on a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to change the Senate rules, but if no deal is reached, Reid is allowed to pass rule changes on a simple-majority vote as long as it’s the first legislative day of a new Congress, rather than needing 67 votes to change the rules.