U.S. Senate Approves $6.9 Billion Disaster Relief Funding Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate approved a bill to authorize $6.9 billion in disaster relief funding yesterday, by a 62-37 vote. The money is needed to help pay for recovery efforts from the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters around the nation.

However, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives must also approve the bill before any additional money is made available, and that seems an unlikely prospect. Earlier this week, Senate Republicans temporarily blocked the bill over concerns about how it would affect the federal deficit.

House Republicans plan to attach a smaller amount of disaster relief funding to a larger spending bill that would fund federal government programs through mid-November.

“It’s just not the American way to turn our backs on those suffering from this devastation,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). “It’s time for House Republicans to put Tea Party economics aside and stand on the side of the thousands of communities who need relief now.”

“The fight we’re in now is to get money for the disaster relief fund. We do not have enough money — given the number of disasters we’ve had this year — to finish the fiscal year, and to do all the things we have to do,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said yesterday.

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