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Supersstorm Sandy aid bill not on House schedule

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 9:26 p.m.

WASHINGTON — As the House returned to work on Sunday afternoon, lawmakers had no plans to vote on a Senate-passed disaster relief bill for Superstorm Sandy victims.

The Senate voted 62-32 on Friday to approve $60.4 billion in aid.

Twelve Republicans voted for the measure.

The House has until Jan. 3, when the 113th Congress is sworn in, to act on the measure. Otherwise, work on it must begin anew.

“The best way to handle it is to just pass the Senate bill,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., whose oceanfront district sustained major damage from the Oct. 29 storm.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and other conservatives are calling for a much smaller bill to cover only the most urgent needs, putting off until 2013 legislation to address long-term needs such as protecting beaches and transportation networks from another storm.

“The problem is that later never comes,” Pallone said.

A Senate amendment from Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., would have reduced the aid package to $24 billion.

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