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Friday, January 4, 2013 - 15:33
The U.S House of Representatives has passed the first of a two part 60 billion dollar spending measure to help victims of Superstorm Sandy.
In a 354 to 67 vote, the house Friday morning signed off on a 9.7 billion dollar spending package.
All of the no votes were cast by Republicans.
The money will be used to pay flood insurance claims related to the storm. A second, 51 billion dollar broader aid plan will be considered later this month. The Senate, which had already approved the larger Sandy Plan that the house declined to consider, is expected to sign off on the scaled-back version later today.
Northeast lawmakers have complained that it took just 10 days for Congress to approve about $50 billion in aid for Katrina but that it hadn't provided aid for Sandy Relief in more than two months.
More than $2 billion in federal money has been spent so far on relief efforts for 11 states and the District of Columbia struck by the storm.
Sandy was the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was blamed for at least 120 deaths.