[Updated at 2:43 p.m.] After days of controversy surrounding a canceled vote on a Superstorm Sandy aid package, the new Congress has approved part of the plan.
The U.S. House on Friday approved a $9.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package, 354-67, and the Senate gave its own approval, unanimously and without debate, in the afternoon.
Lawmakers from both houses will weigh in on $51 billion in additional Sandy aid on January 15, but that larger portion will likely face much closer scrutiny in a Congress anticipating more acrimony over spending and debt.
Frustrated victims of the massive October storm in the Northeast watched this week as a vote on a $60 billion measure was canceled just before the previous Congress wrapped up its work. Politicians from hard-hit New York and New Jersey blasted House GOP leadership for canceling the vote, until House Speaker John Boehner promised to hold the new votes this week and January 15.
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