Finally. Today the Senate will vote on — and likely pass — the Hurricane Sandy relief bill that allocates over $50 billion toward victims of, and infrastructure damaged by, the superstorm three months ago. The bill's passage would end the months-long drama that began with President Obama's request for $60 billion in federal aid and later intensified when House Republicans repeatedly delayed the bill in hopes of trimming its expenditures, an unpopular strategy that drew the very public rebuke of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, parts of whose state were ravaged by Sandy.
Given the Democratic-controlled Senate's support for past iterations of a similar bill, we're probably not going to see much of a fight in today's vote. But that doesn't mean the Senate itself is immune to delay tactics. Indeed, the body is voting only now — two weeks after the House passed the same bill — due to the drawn-out fight over filibuster reform that forced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to debate Senate procedure instead of actual legislation. Once it passes, however, the bill should shuttle quickly to the White House, where President Obama is certain to sign.
The real fight will continue on the sidelines, where think tanks like the Heritage Foundation will continue to criticize what they perceive to be unnecessary funds (even when they're totally appropriate), and produce apocalyptic videos such as the one below: