Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Rockland/Westchester), ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on Tuesday's passage by the House of emergency disaster relief for families, businesses, and communities affected by Superstorm Sandy.
The $50 billion disaster relief package passed by a vote of 241 to 180 and now goes to the Senate.
"Seventy-nine days after Superstorm Sandy devastated families, businesses and communities, Congress’s action today finally puts us a step closer to recovery. I am especially proud to have helped lead the bipartisan effort to pass the full assistance package for the affected areas, as the first order of business in the 113th Congress.
"Sandy took the lives of 110 Americans, transportation networks and coastal areas in New York and New Jersey were devastated, 650,000 homes were damaged beyond repair, and 8.1 million homes lost power, many for weeks. In New York alone, 265,000 businesses were affected, costing jobs, paychecks, and billions in lost economic output.
"The desperately-needed relief in this bill will help families and individuals put their lives back together and assist in rebuilding transportation networks and public infrastructure vital to commerce and our quality of life. Small businesses, schools, health care facilities, and research institutions will have the support to restore vital services in their communities.
"Congress' failure to provide emergency relief before the end of the 112th Congress was inexcusable. With 146 major disasters declared in the last two years, no region of the country is immune to such tragedy. As Americans, we must never hold vital disaster assistance hostage to partisan fights about spending or political calculations."