The US Senate has approved a $US60.4 billion ($NZ73.7b) aid
package to pay for reconstruction costs from Superstorm
Sandy, after defeating Republican efforts to trim the bill's
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged the
Republican-controlled House of Representatives to quickly
take up the bill.
Both chambers have to agreed on a package by Jan 2, when the
current term of Congress is expected to end, or restart the
process of crafting legislation in 2013.
The bill's chance s in the next few days could depend on
whether President Barack Obama and congressional leaders
reach a deal to avert t he "fiscal cliff" of t ax in creases
a nd spending cuts set to beg in kicking in the new year.
Republicans complain the $60.4 billion reconstruction package
requested by Obama is more than the annual budgets for the
departments of Interior, Labor, Treasury and Transportation
combined. They have urged a slower relief approach based on a
co ngressional assessment of needs.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated about $8.97
billion of the S enate bill would be spent in 2013, with
another $12.66 billion spent in 2014 and $11.59 billion spent