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House Approves $9.7B in Sandy Aid Friday; Martins Tours Damaged Areas

Senate also approves additional borrowing authority for hurricane relief.

The House approved $9.7 billion in Superstorm Sandy aid Friday, according to published reports.

Before adjourning last week, outgoing House lawmakers passed on to the new Congress which met for the first time Thursday a proposed $60 billion aid package. Congressional GOP members criticized the proposed "pork" spending in the bill that was unrelated to Sandy needs.

Lawmakers in Washington are expected to weigh in on the remaining $51 billion in broader relief funding on Jan. 15, according to CNN.

Calling it "inexusable" and a "disgrace," state Sen. Jack Martins, R-Mineola, lambasted his own party in the House for not voting on the measure last week.

"Shame on them," said Martins in a statement.

When asked by Patch if Martins had a problem with the delayed House vote, Joseph Rizza, a Martins aide, responded by saying the senator stands with other leaders such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on the position that Congress needs to get aid to the victims of the storm.

"It's been over two months since this devastating storm hit and residents and businesses are still waiting for the House to act," said Rizza.

Martins was in Freeport Thursday as part of the New York State Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy Recovery.

The group, which included Town of North Hemsptead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, visited communities on Long Island to tour storm damage and speak with local officials, business leaders, and individuals about the progress and challenges of the ongoing recovery efforts. 

Participants focused on the storm's impacts in Nassau and Suffolk with tours of Freeport, Island Park and Oceanside.

“It’s important and appropriate that the task force meet here on Long Island where so many of our friends and neighbors were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy and are still recovering from its effects," said Martins on Thursday. "We Long Islanders are a resilient bunch. We will work to make sure that Long Island communities are not forgotten as we move forward in our efforts to rebuild.”

The New York State Senate has not voted regarding aid to Sandy victims, according to Rizza.

Update 2:44 p.m.: Following the House vote Friday, the Senate approved additional borowing authority for Sandy aid later in the day.

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