Two months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a package of 9.7 billion dollars to pay flood insurance claims. After a 354-67 vote in the House, the bill was passed Friday by the Senate.
“This legislation is the first necessary step” to provide the aid that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut need “after the most devastating storm in the history of our region,” said Rep. Pete King.
The only votes against the bill were cast by House Republicans.
Surprisingly, several of those representatives are from states directly affected by the Hurricane Katrina, including, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama; Rep. Steven Palazzo of Biloxi, Miss.; Reps. Ted Yoho and Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana.
The aid package is crucial in continuing to aid the areas struck by Sandy. Countless victims have only received partial payment for flood damages, and FEMA's flood insurance program is dwindling, having paid out 1.7 billion in claims already.
While the first aid package for Katrina victims was passed within 10 days of the disaster, this bill met with more resistance. Many blame John Boehner for pulling the package from a Wednesday vote in revenge for the 'fiscal cliff' compromise.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie expressed particular disappointment about the move by Boehner.
This bill represents the first piece of legislation of the 60.4 billion aid package requested by President Obama.