FEMA has spent about $3.1 billion in disaster relief money for shelters, restoring power and other immediate needs after the storm pounded the Atlantic Coast with hurricane-force winds. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the hardest hit.
Meanwhile, the House Monday night overwhelmingly approved, on a 403-0 vote, a bill to change FEMA regulations that critics blame for slowing down recovery efforts. The bill would let FEMA make limited repairs to victims' homes in place of lease payments or the traditional agency trailers. It also would permit FEMA to make disaster grants based on estimated damage costs instead of waiting for states and communities to seek reimbursement for repairs And it would established an "expedited" federal environmental review process for projects for protecting against future storms.
Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.
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