Senate Democrats on Wednesday finished cobbling together a $60.4 billion disaster aid package for New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Superstorm Sandy in late October.
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The proposal comes with little time left in the final days of a congressional session dominated by an impasse in negotiations between the White House and Republican lawmakers over how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax increases.
The measure could face a tough fight on Capitol Hill, especially from tea party House Republicans and other fiscal conservatives who favor budget cuts elsewhere to offset some or even all disaster costs.
The aid will help states rebuild public infrastructure like roads and tunnels and help thousands of people displaced from their homes. Sandy was the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and one of the worst storms ever in the Northeast.