A NASA photo of the coastal town of Mantoloking, NJ, taken Oct. 31, 2012, after Hurricane Sandy had taken its toll on the hamlet. (NASA)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate is turning its attention to a $60.4 billion disaster aid package for Superstorm Sandy victims while President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner try to avert the fiscal cliff off spending cuts and tax increases.
The Senate will start debating the bill Monday afternoon. Republicans said they had no objections after Democratic leader Harry Reid assured them on Thursday they could offer amendments to the bill.
It's unclear if the bill could become part of the fiscal cliff negotiations or not. The measure could face a tough fight on Capitol Hill, especially from GOP fiscal conservatives wary of approving such large spending so quickly.
House Republicans are looking at a smaller initial package to cover immediate needs while awaiting more detailed evidence on damages for additional spending.
NYC teachers' fund pledges $1 billion in Sandy aid
A pension fund for New York City's teachers is pledging $1 billion in new investments toward repairing roads and bridges damaged by Superstorm Sandy and other infrastructure projects.
The New York City Teachers Retirement System is making the pledge through a project of the Clinton Global Initiative, started by former President Bill Clinton in 2005.
Clinton made the announcement Thursday.
The superstorm struck in late October, killing at least 140 people in 10 states but hitting New York and New Jersey the hardest.
The pension fund money will go to projects that affect transportation, power, water, communications and housing in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan region.
The teachers' pension fund manages assets of about $46 billion for 110,000 current members and 80,000 retirees.