As soon as the Hurricane Sandy relief bill that the U.S. Senate passed Monday night lands on President Obama’s desk, he says he will sign it. But he notes that legislation to help families and communities recover from the devastating November hurricane is long overdue.
For the families working to put their lives back together, every day without relief is one day too many. So while I had hoped Congress would provide this aid sooner, I applaud the lawmakers from both parties who helped shepherd this important package though.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blocked votes on a relief bill that the Senate passed in December and storm victims were forced to wait for help until a new Congress was sworn in this year.
The $50 billion in hurricane relief funds in the measure, coupled with a smaller $9.7 billion patchwork bill the House approved after receiving withering criticism for its inaction, will be used to rebuild the homes and businesses destroyed by the storm, including funding for rebuilding and improving the transportation systems ravaged by Sandy or help for flood control and shore strengthening projects. Says Edward C. Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD):
The storm-ravaged Northeast has waited long enough for this relief. Americans have always come to the aid of fellow Americans who are suffering. It is regrettable that obstructionists in Washington forced the people of New York and New Jersey—and their decimated homes, businesses and transportation systems—to wait this long for emergency.