WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday approved a $60.4 billion emergency spending aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy that had been backed by Senate Democrats.

Democrats had to turn back Republican efforts to cut programs such as $150 million in fisheries aid that Republican lawmakers said was unrelated to the storm that hammered the East Coast late in October. The measure cleared the Senate on a 62-32 vote, with 12 Republicans supporting the bill. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., was the only Democrat to vote against the bill, but he later switched his vote to support the measure.

The bill faces uncertain prospects in the House, where GOP leaders appear reluctant to move quickly on a big spending bill in the final days of a lame duck session. Congress' attention is focused on talks over the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts.

Sandy was blamed for at least 120 deaths and battered coastline areas from North Carolina to Maine. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the hardest hit states and suffered high winds, flooding and storm surges. Sandy damaged or destroyed more than 72,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey. In New York, 305,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed and more than 265,000 businesses were affected.

Senate Republicans failed on an amendment for a smaller package of about $24 billion in aid for Sandy, which was the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and one of the worst storms ever in the Northeast.

House GOP leaders have not said how they plan to proceed. But House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky has said Congress should probably begin with a smaller aid package for immediate recovery needs and wait until more data can be collected about storm damage before approving additional money next year.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee and a leading House fiscal conservative, has criticized the Democratic bill as "packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., urged House leaders to "put this bill on the floor quickly and allow a vote." If the House balks, Schumer said, the Senate bill provides "very good groundwork" for seeking Sandy aid next year.

The measure includes $11.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's chief disaster relief fund and $17 billion for community development block grants, much of which would help homeowners repair or replace their homes. Another $11.7 billion would help repair New York City's subways and other mass transit damage and protect them from future storms. Some $9.7 billion would go toward the government's flood insurance program. The Army Corps of Engineers would receive $5.3 billion to mitigate flood future risks and rebuild damaged projects.

Senate Republicans said much of the spending in the Democratic bill was for projects unrelated to Sandy, such as $150 million for fisheries disasters that could go to Alaska as well as Gulf Coast and New England states. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to strip the fisheries funding, but his amendment failed.

To court votes, Democrats last week broadened some of their bill's provisions to cover damage from Hurricane Isaac, which struck the Gulf Coast earlier this year. A provision was added to the $2.9 billion allotted to Army Corps of Engineers projects to reduce future flooding risks; the coverage area for that program will now include areas hit by Isaac in addition to Sandy. Democrats also shifted $400 million into a community development program for regions suffering disasters, beyond areas struck by Sandy.

A Coburn amendment to reduce the federal share of costs for the Army Corps of Engineer projects to reduce future flooding risks also failed.

Most of the money in the $60.4 billion bill – $47.4 billion – is for immediate help for victims and other recovery and rebuilding efforts. The aid is intended to help states rebuild public infrastructure like roads and tunnels, and help thousands of people displaced from their homes.

"It will actually put people to work in their own communities, rebuilding their own communities," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Coburn, two frequent critics of government spending, targeted what they called "questionable" spending in the Democratic bill, including $2 million for roof repairs at Smithsonian Institution museums and $58 million in subsidies for tree planting on private properties. A McCain amendment to strip the tree subsidies failed.

Republicans also criticized $13 billion in the Democratic bill for projects to protect against future storms, including fortifying mass transit systems in the Northeast. Republicans said however worthy such projects may be, they are not urgently needed and should be considered by Congress in the usual appropriations process next year.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that only about $9 billion of the $60.4 billion proposed by Democrats would be spent over the next nine months. The Democratic bill included many large infrastructure projects that often require years to complete, but Republicans said the CBO estimate of such drawn-out spending undercuts the urgency of the Democrats' aid package.

More than $2 billion in federal funds has been spent so far on relief efforts for 11 states and the District of Columbia. FEMA's disaster relief fund still has about $4.3 billion, and officials have said that is enough to pay for recovery efforts into early spring.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are receiving federal aid.

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  • Seaside Heights, N.J.

    John Okeefe walks on the beach as a rollercoaster that once sat on the Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights, N.J., rests in the ocean on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 after the pier was washed away by superstorm Sandy which made landfall Monday evening.

  • Ocean City, M.D.

    A National Guard humvee travels through high water to check the area after the effects of Hurricane Sandy Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Ocean City, Md. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (Alex Brandon, AP)

  • Lower Manhattan

    Water is pumped on to the street in lower Manhattan in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The New York region is replacing a rail network built over a century with a patchwork constructed day-by-day to move its 8 million people again as it struggles back to life after Hurricane Sandy.

  • Queens, N.Y.

    People walk by a destroyed section of the Rockaway boardwalk in the heavily damaged Rockaway section of Queens after the historic boardwalk was washed away during Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 31, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City. With the death toll currently at 55 and millions of homes and businesses without power, the US east coast is attempting to recover from the affects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Hurricane Sandy. JFK airport in New York and Newark airport in New Jersey expect to resume flights on Wednesday morning and the New York Stock Exchange commenced trading after being closed for two days.

  • Brooklyn Bridge, N.Y.

    Commuters cross New York's Brooklyn Bridge, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. The floodwaters that poured into New York's deepest subway tunnels may pose the biggest obstacle to the city's recovery from the worst natural disaster in the transit system's 108-year history.

  • Storm-Damaged Communities On East Coast Hit By Nor'Easter

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Alex Vila, 2, carries a box of cereal after visiting an aid station for people affected by Superstorm Sandy on November 8, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Household supplies and groceries were distributed to Red Hook neighborhood residents by Catholic Charities at the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary church. Meanwhile a nor'easter storm plunged temperatures to below freezing, bringing more misery to many Red Hook residents still without power, heat nor running water in their public housing apartments. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-STORM-SANDY

    Boats and docks damaged by Hurricane Sandy are seen at the Mansion Marinia on the shores of the Great Kills community November 7, 2012 on Staten Island, New York. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday announced a limited evacuation of some neighborhoods ahead of harsh weather barreling toward a city still recovering from superstorm Sandy. The national weather service forecast heavy rain and likely snow on Wednesday and Thursday, accompanied by gale force winds gusting as high as 43 mph (69 kmh). Though barely half the strength of Sandy, the autumn storm will lash already damaged buildings and bring lower temperatures for tens of thousands of people still struggling without electricity. Bloomberg told a news conference that parks and beaches would close. The worst-hit patches of waterfront neighborhoods, including Rockaways in the Queens borough, and in Staten Island, were being asked to evacuate again. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Storm-Damaged Communities On East Coast Hit By Nor'Easter

    LONG BRANCH, NJ - NOVEMBER 08: Debris from Superstorm Sandy is seen on a beach November 8, 2012 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Meanwhile a nor'easter storm plunged temperatures to below freezing, bringing more misery to many residents throughout New York and New Jersey still without power. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Long Island Residents, Many Still Without Power, Continue To Clean Up After Superstorm Sandy

    OCEANSIDE, NY - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) James Vouloukos and William Ferris sort through donated clothes at a site maintained by the Town of Hempstead in cooperation with FEMA at Oceanside Park during in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 9, 2012 in Oceanside, New York. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that the economic loss and damage to homes and businesses caused by Sandy could total $33 billion in New York, according to published reports. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • Funeral Held in Brooklyn For Two Young Brothers Killed During Superstorm Sandy

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: New York sanitation department workers watch as a hearse arrives with a casket carrying the bodies of two brothers killed during Superstorm Sandy for a funeral at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic church on November 9, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swept away from the arms of their mother Glenda Moore as she fled Superstorm Sandy floodwaters in New York's Staten Island borough to seek safety with family in Brooklyn. She is married to New York Sanitation worker Damian Moore, and dozens of workers and officials from the sanitation department attended the funeral ceremony. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

  • Long Island Residents, Many Still Without Power, Continue To Clean Up After Superstorm Sandy

    ISLAND PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Residents Paul and Donald Zezulinski and their dog 'Plywood' of Island Park show their appreciation to first responders during their clean up efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 9, 2012 in Island Park, New York. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that the economic loss and damage to homes and business caused by Sandy could total $33 billion in New York, according to published reports. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, people stand next to a house collapsed from Superstorm Sandy in East Haven, Conn. While Connecticut was spared the destruction seen in New York and New Jersey, many communities along the shoreline, including some of the wealthiest towns in America, were struggling with one of the most severe storms in generations. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

  • Meg Dolan holds her dog "Nellie" during Sunday mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Breezy Point, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. With overnight temperatures sinking into the 30s and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses still without electricity six days after Sandy howled through, people piled on layers of clothes, and New York City officials handed out blankets and urged victims to go to overnight shelters or daytime warming centers. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • A representative of the Salvation Army walks past homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in Breezy Point, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. The beachfront neighborhood heavy populated by firefighters and police officers was devastated during the storm when a fire pushed by Sandy's raging winds destroyed 100 or more homes and buildings. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Ginny Flanagan, right, and her sister go through photographs and mementos that were recovered from Flanagan's flooded bungalow in Breezy Point, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. The beachfront enclave heavy populated by firefighters and police officers was devastated during the storm when a fire pushed by Sandy's raging winds destroyed 100 or more homes and buildings. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • US-WEATHER-STORM-SANDY-MARATHON

    Runner Jonathan who would have run the ING New York City Marathon, spend the afternoon volunteering by unloading and organizing emergency supplies near Midland Beach as New York recovers from Hurricane Sandy on November 4, 2012 in Staten Island, New York. AFP PHOTO / Mehdi Taamallah (Photo credit should read MEHDI TAAMALLAH/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A woman with her groceries passes a group of National Guardsmen as they march up 1st Avenue towards the 69th Regiment Armory, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in New York. National Guardsmen remain in Manhattan as the city begins to move towards normalcy following Superstorm Sandy earlier in the week. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Patrons on foot carrying gas canisters line up for gasoline at a Hess station in the New Dorp section of the Staten Island borough of New York, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. Those on foot reported waits up to 40 minutes while motorists lined up for two hours as Staten Islanders fueled up to run their generators and automobiles in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Eileen AJ Connelly)

  • Girls hold hands during Sunday mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Breezy Point, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. With overnight temperatures sinking into the 30s and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses still without electricity six days after Sandy howled through, people piled on layers of clothes, and New York City officials handed out blankets and urged victims to go to overnight shelters or daytime warming centers. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Many streets in the Silver Lake section of Belmar, N.J., remain underwater Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, Neighbors and volunteers clean out homes Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Belmar, N.J., five days after the storm surge by superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Ben Nukols)

  • Water from superstorm Sandy is pumped from a flooded basement of an office building near New York's Battery Park, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. The massive storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast and morphed into a huge and problematic system, killing at least 96 people in the United States. The cost of the storm could exceed $18 billion in New York alone. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Cars that were uprighted and submerged by Superstorm Sandy remain at the entrance of a subterranean parking garage in New York's Financial District, as the water is pumped out, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. . The cost of the storm could exceed $18 billion in New York alone. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • National Guard in Lower Manhattan

    The National Guard 827th Engineer Company helps hand out MREs to Lower Manhattan residents at the Alfred Smith Playground on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • National Guard in Lower Manhattan

    The National Guard 827th Engineer Company helps hand out MREs to Lower Manhattan residents at the Alfred Smith Playground on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Grand Central Terminal, New York City

    People walk through Grand Central Terminal as the sun rises during a subdued morning rush on Nov. 1, 2012 in New York City. Some trains are back up and running into Grand Central following shutdowns in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Subway train service in the city is back in a limited capacity, but with much of lower Manhattan still with out power, trains are not running there and busses are replacing them.

  • Seaside Heights, N.J.

    A roller coaster sits in the Atlantic Ocean after the Fun Town pier it sat on was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 1, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • National Guard in Lower Manhattan

    The National Guard 827th Engineer Company helps hand out MREs to Lower Manhattan residents at the Alfred Smith Playground on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Charging Station Provided By AT&T

    Phillip Melly charges the phones of Hurricane Sandy victims at Kimlau Square in Lower Manhattan on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. The generators used were brought in by AT&T to help out the residents of Lower Manhattan in New York City who currently have no power. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Stocking Up On Ice

    United City Ice Cube Company workers who refer to themselves as "Icemen" take in a shipment of ice into their 45th and 10th ave. store on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. The workers who asked not to be identified by name said there had been a run on ice purchases due to Hurricane Sandy and they were stocking up in anticipation of more demand in the coming days. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Car Crash Due To Power Outage

    The power outage in Lower Manhattan due to Hurricane Sandy has created a gauntlet of dangerous street intersections as can be seen by this car accident at the Houston and Varick Street crossing on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Car Crash Due To Power Outage

    The power outage in Lower Manhattan due to Hurricane Sandy has created a gauntlet of dangerous street intersections as can be seen by this car accident at the Houston and Varick Street crossing on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Clean Drinking Water

    Pedestrians fill up on water at a drinking station that had been setup at the corner of Centre and Canal Streets in Chinatown on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. The stations use water from fire hydrants and have been erected due to the blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy in Lower Manhattan. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Trash Picking In Chinatown

    A pedestrian looks through discarded food near a supermarket located at Henry and Market Streets in Chinatown New York on Friday Nov. 2, 2012.

  • Fort Lee, N.J.

    People wait in line for fuel at a Shell Oil station on Nov. 1, 2012 in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The US death toll from Hurricane Sandy rose to at least 85 as New York reported a major jump in fatalities caused by Monday's storm. Fuel shortages led to long lines of cars at gasoline stations in many states and the country faced a storm bill of tens of billions of dollars.

  • New York City

    Commuters ride the F train Nov. 1, 2012 in New York City. Limited public transit has returned to New York. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • Toms River, N.J.

    A gas station displays a "No Gas" sign on November 1, 2012 in Toms River, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • Fort Lee, N.J.

    Cars wait in line for fuel at a Gulf gas station on Nov.1, 2012 in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The US death toll from Hurricane Sandy rose to at least 85 as New York reported a major jump in fatalities caused by Monday's storm. Fuel shortages led to long lines of cars at gasoline stations in many states and the country faced a storm bill of tens of billions of dollars.

  • Brooklyn, N.Y.

    New Yorkers wait in traffic as they head into Manhattan from Brooklyn as the city continues to recover from superstorm Sandy on Nov.1, 2012, in New York, United States. Limited public transit has returned to New York and most major bridges have reopened but will require three occupants in the vehicle to pass. With the death toll currently over 70 and millions of homes and businesses without power, the US east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by superstorm Sandy.

  • Hoboken, N.J.

    Mud and debris liiter a street on Nov.1, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hurricane victims continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall along the New Jersey shore, and left parts of the state and the surrounding area flooded and without power.

  • Washington, D.C.

    Firefighters shoot water into a building in the 1200 block of 4th St., NE, near the recently opened Union Market, after responding to a blaze that broke out around 9pm Wednesday night.

  • Seaside Heights, N.J.

    Debris lies on the boardwalk in front of the Casino Pier, which was partially destroyed by Superstorm Sandy on Nov.1, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • Long Island Residents, Many Still Without Power, Continue To Clean Up After Superstorm Sandy

    LONG BEACH, NY - NOVEMBER 09: A man walks past a destroyed section of the boardwalk at the base of Lincoln Boulevard as Long Islanders continue their clean up efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 9, 2012 in Long Beach, New York. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that the economic loss and damage to homes and business caused by Sandy could total $33 billion in New York, according to published reports. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, N.Y.

    A New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer looks over flood waters at the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery tunnel in New York, U.S., on Nov. 1, 2012. The New York region is replacing a rail network built over a century with a patchwork constructed day-by-day to move its 8 million people again as it struggles back to life after Hurricane Sandy.

  • New York City

    Residents charge their cell phones and computers on the East River esplanade in New York, U.S., on Nov. 1, 2012. The New York region is replacing a rail network built over a century with a patchwork constructed day-by-day to move its 8 million people again as it struggles back to life after Hurricane Sandy.

  • Toms River, N.J.

    An American flag flies in front of a home damaged by Hurricane Sandy on Nov. 1, 2012 in Toms River, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by superstorm Sandy.

  • North Bergen, New Jersey

    A woman leaves an Exxon gas station which was out of gas on Nov. 1, 2012 in North Bergen, New Jersey. The US death toll from Hurricane Sandy rose to at least 85 as New York reported a major jump in fatalities caused by Monday's storm. Fuel shortages led to long lines of cars at gasoline stations in many states and the country faced a storm bill of tens of billions of dollars.

  • Manhattan from Hoboken, N.J.

    People board the NY Waterways ferry with the Manhattan skyline in the background Nov.1, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall along the New Jersey shore, left parts of the state and the surrounding area without power including much of lower Manhattan south of 34th Street.

  • South Ferry 1 Train Station, New York City

    Joseph Leader, Metropolitan Tranportation Authority Vice President and Chief Maintenance Officer, shines a flashlight on standing water inside the South Ferry 1 train station in New York, N.Y., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the wake of superstorm Sandy. The floodwaters that poured into New York's deepest subway tunnels may pose the biggest obstacle to the city's recovery from the worst natural disaster in the transit system's 108-year history.

  • Grand Central Terminal, New York City

    People exit a Metro-North train arriving in Grand Central Terminal during the morning rush on Nov. 1, 2012 in New York City. Some trains are back up and running into Grand Central following shutdowns in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Subway train service in the city is back in a limited capacity, but with much of lower Manhattan still with out power, trains are not running there and busses are replacing them.

  • Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Pedestrians look over a fence at a pile of boats flooded inland at the Varuna Boat Club on Oct. 31, 2012, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.

  • Queens, N.Y.

    Damage is viewed in the Rockaway neighborhood where the historic boardwalk was washed away during Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 31, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City. With the death toll currently at 55 and millions of homes and businesses without power, the US east coast is attempting to recover from the affects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Hurricane Sandy. JFK airport in New York and Newark airport in New Jersey expect to resume flights on Wednesday morning and the New York Stock Exchange commenced trading after being closed for two days.