Sandy victims are one step closer to receiving the relief money they need.
After $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds were signed into law earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an additional $50.7 billion in aid.
In a 327-91 vote Tuesday afternoon, January 15, the House approved $17 billion in emergency funding that will go towards addressing immediate needs for victims and communities affected by Sandy.
A few hours later, a final bill that included an additional $33.7 billion for both immediate and anticipated needs was adopted in a 241-180 vote.
“We are grateful to those members of Congress who today pulled together in a unified, bipartisan coalition to assist millions of their fellow Americans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut at their greatest time of need. The tradition of Congress being there and providing support for Americans during times of crisis, no matter where they live across this great country, lives on in today’s vote in the House of Representatives. We anticipate smooth passage when this package moves back to the Senate for final approval and for this long-awaited relief to finally make its way to our residents,” said Governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie and Dannel Malloy in a joint statement.
“It’s been two-and-a-half months since Sandy hammered our region, and thousands of New Yorkers continue to suffer from the devastation. Now, they will finally receive the relief that they have desperately needed, said Congressmember Grace Meng. “The battle we had to fight to secure this aid was outrageous. But I’m pleased that the money will finally start to head our way.”
Throughout the day’s legislative session, House members spoke adamantly about the bill. Some stressed the relief money’s urgency, while others objected to unrelated Sandy spending.
In the House, the majority of those opposed to the relief aid were Republicans. The Democratically controlled Senate is expected to say yes to the money next week.
In December, the Senate initially approved the full $60.4 billion Sandy aid package in one lump sum, but the House adjourned before it could follow suit.
After several politicians publicly criticized Speaker John Boehner for the early adjournment, he scheduled a vote on the legislation.
But the $60.4 billion was broken up into several votes, starting with Congress’ January 4 approval of the $9.7 billion.
That part of the legislation temporarily increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The $50 billion passed Tuesday includes money for FEMA disaster relief, transit and infrastructure repairs, and other recovery needs.
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