US to vote on aid package for areas hit by superstorm SandyThursday 03 January 2013 17.19
The United States House of Representatives is due to vote this week on an aid package for areas hit by superstorm Sandy last year.
Sandy was blamed for at least 120 deaths and battered coastline areas from North Carolina to Maine in October.
An estimated $65 billion (€49bn) worth of damage was caused in what was the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the hardest hit states and suffered high winds, flooding and storm surges.
Tomorrow’s vote will focus on $9bn for the national flood insurance programme.
Another vote is scheduled for 15 January for a remaining $51bn in the package.
House Speaker John Boehner's decision on Tuesday night to cancel an expected vote on the storm aid before Congress ends its current session had provoked a firestorm of criticism.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey said the need for the aid package was unquestionable.
President Barack Obama said hard-hit states needed the federal aid urgently to help rebuild after the storm.
"When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need," Mr Obama said in a statement.
"I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans," he added.