A Superstrom Sandy aid package has just been approved by the United States Congress, releasing some $9 billion in aid.
This week saw sudden death talks on the “fiscal cliff” as Washington wrangled over the fate of the $600 billion that the “fiscal cliff” entailed, delaying a vote on the Sandy aid package that would release funds for reconstruction work, inviting criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike, especially those of the hardest-hit states on the Eastern Seaboard.
Now with the 112th Congress in place, the Sandy aid package has been approved, with an initial sum of $9.7 billion getting the green light, a much-needed decision, as it will prop up a flood insurance fund that was likely to run out of money by next week. House Speakeragreed to hold two votes on the total aid package of $60 billion.
Congress was being criticized for being slow to react to Sandy, the most costly natural disaster in US history after 2004’s Hurricane Katrina. Congress’ sluggard reaction, taking almost 60 days to approve the aid package, invited criticism and indeed anger from all corners, with politicians from New York and New Jersey, states which bore the brunt of the superstorm, urging the Lower House to move quicker.
Commenting on the passing of the aid package, the governors of New York State and New Jersey, saying, "While we are pleased with this progress, today was just a down payment and it is now time to go even further and pass the final and more complete, clean disaster aid bill."and , welcomed the move in a joint statement, but stressed the need for the bill to be completed,
Superstorm Sandy claimed the lives of some 120 people, causing billions of dollars in damages and leaving thousands without shelter. Speaking about this, Representativesaid, “People are waiting to be paid. They're sleeping in rented rooms on cots somewhere, and they're not happy. They want to get their lives back on track, and it is cold outside. They see no prospect of relief."