Washington, D.C. -- Both houses of Congress quickly approved $40 billion in emergency aid Friday to help the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York City and the Pentagon. The Senate vote on the bill, which doubled the amount originally requested by President Bush, passed 96-0. The House vote passed 422-0.
The bill provides an immediate $10 billion to respond to the attacks, counter domestic and international terrorism, increase transportation security and repair facilities damaged by the attacks. Another $10 billion will be made available 15 days after the White House informs Congress of a plan for its use. The remaining $20 billion will be included in spending bills for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
At least half of the $40 billion will go to disaster recovery activities in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Senators also voted 98-0 on a second measure, authorizing the president to use "necessary and appropriate force" in retaliating against the terrorists. The House is expected to vote late Friday or Saturday.