Despite Republican efforts to whittle down President Obama's $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy relief request to a mere $23.8 billion, Senate Democrats (with the help of 12 GOPers) managed to pass the bill almost virtually intact on Friday. The only concession Republicans were able to extract was $3.4 billion in spending cuts to offset some of the bill's provisions to mitigate damage from future storms. Yet obstacles remain — primarily uncertainty over whether the Republican-controlled House will sign off on the package. The House probably won't deal with the measure until very early next year (January 2), and their decision — like many things — will likely depend on the outcome of the eleventh hour fiscal cliff negotiations.
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