Harkin yes, Grassley no as Senate approves Hurricane Sandy relief

The U.S. Senate today approved a bill allocating $50.7 billion for Hurricane Sandy relief by 62 votes to 36 (roll call). Republicans including Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley cast all of the no votes. Senator Tom Harkin joined the rest of the Democratic caucus and nine GOP senators to pass the bill. Grassley and Harkin split the same way when the Senate considered an earlier version of Sandy relief in late December.

Before today’s vote on final passage, senators rejected a Republican amendment that would have offset the $50.7 billion expenditure “by decreasing federal discretionary spending by 0.49 percent for nine years.” Grassley supported that amendment, while Harkin voted against it.

The Sandy relief bill now goes to President Barack Obama’s desk.  Iowa’s four representatives split along party lines (Democrats for, Republicans against) when it cleared the U.S. House. Obama already signed the first stage of Sandy relief, which increased the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s borrowing authority by $9.7 billion. All four Iowans voted for that bill in the U.S. House; it later passed the Senate on a voice vote.

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