The $51 billion federal emergency aid bill for states affected by Hurricane Sandy as of Monday evening stands only five votes short of passing, reported The New York Daily News.
The good news is the 113th Congress has eight more Democratic votes than just one week ago. So last night, the appropriation had the support of every House Democrat and every Republican House member from New York and New Jersey, leaving it just five GOP votes short, versus what would have been 13.
Now GOP House members from New York and New Jersey are focused on making calls and visits to pull in the final five.
The aid – money to help homeowners and small businesses; to repair bridges, tunnels and transportation systems – originally was folded into the fiscal cliff package that passed early last Wednesday morning.
However, early disagreement between House GOP and Democratic leaders surrounding the amount of Sandy aid that should be allocated was enough to convince House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to take the provision out temporarily, in effort to avoid stalling the larger deal.
Boehner’s decision sparked outrage amongst representatives in the eastern states affected by Sandy, including Republicans. And now that the Chamber’s attention has returned to passing a Sandy aid bill, getting those final five GOP remains a challenge.
The Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, is expected to pass the measure.