[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.FULL STORY