The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 77-21 to approve legislation that includes $28.9 billion for states impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The bill, which in March passed the House with a 348-71 vote, will likely be amended during a conference of House and Senate members.

WDSU.com reported that the bill would provide about $4.2 billion for a housing buyout plan in Louisiana, in addition to $6.2 billion approved by Congress in December, $3.7 billion for levee repairs, and $1.7 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to raise and protect homes.

The Associated Press reported that in addition to the $28.9 billion for hurricane relief, the legislation would also provide $4 billion for levees and for flood-control projects.

Also included in the legislation is $65.7 billion for war operations.

While the Senate’s bill includes a total spending plan of $109 billion, that is higher than what President Bush has said he would approve and higher than what the House will accept, the Associated Press reported.

The bill includes $5.2 billion in a community development fund “for necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure in the most impacted and distressed areas related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes of the 2005 season.”

It also includes $165 million for an Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

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