Senate sets Monday vote for Hurricane Sandy relief bill

The Senate will vote Monday on providing $50.7 billion to states hit by Hurricane Sandy. 

The House has already approved the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, H.R. 152, which would give relief to New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Hurricane Sandy. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the bill would be subject to an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to offset some of the recovery spending by decreasing discretionary spending by .49 percent. Then the Senate would proceed to a vote on final passage of H.R. 152, which the House passed on a 241-180 vote last week. Both votes will have a 60-vote threshold for passage.

Reid said the two roll call votes would be set for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Both chambers have already approved a $9.7 billion bill for the National Flood Insurance Program to handle claims related to the storm. But lawmakers from the Northeast have complained that the larger bill should already have been approved. The Senate did approve a larger aid package in December, but the House did not. 

“A recovery that is delayed, as this already has been significantly delayed, is very likely a recovery that can fail,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said earlier this week on the Senate floor. “Time is a wasting.”

Colorado's two senators complain that the new bill — unlike the earlier legislation approved by the Senate — does not include emergency funding for their states and others hit by wildfires. 

“We passed a bill that helped victims of natural disaster all across this country,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said on the floor Thursday. “The idea that we’re all in this together prevailed but the House let that bill die at the end of the last Congress. And we’re now asked to consider a House-passed bill that fails to help Colorado."

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