Politicians in New Jersey are praising the passage of part of a Superstorm Sandy relief package. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $9.7 billion measure Friday to fund the national flood insurance program. Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey says the measure is ``critically important'' to help New Jersey recover and rebuild. Fellow Republican John Runyan says the bill is an important first step to help storm victims.
A vote to put an additional $51 billion toward Sandy relief will take place Jan. 15. Friday's vote came days after Northeast Republicans erupted over House Speaker John Boehner's decision to delay an earlier vote.
U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo also applauded the passage of the first of two bills encompassing the full $60 billion emergency supplemental funding requested by New Jersey-New York-Connecticut to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In a 354 to 67 vote, the House approved $9.7 billion for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Federal Emergency Management Agency notified Congress on Wednesday that the NFIP was expected to run out of money to pay for more than 100,000 outstanding claims by next week.
"Today's vote is a key step in getting critical federal assistance to the residents, businesses and communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. This week's events make it clear that the need for help is real and that any additional delays in providing federal aid will be met with fierce resistance from myself, members of the delegation, and Governor Christie. I hope my colleagues recognize politics has no place when dealing with a disaster and that the overwhelming bipartisan support demonstrated today is present as the remaining federal aid is considered," said LoBiondo.
Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner (OH-08) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA-07) granted LoBiondo and members of the New Jersey and New York delegations two votes in the House on the emergency supplemental after failing to take up the measure in the final days of the 112th Congress. The second vote scheduled for January 15th will include the remaining $50.3 billion of the $60 billion request. As crafted by LoBiondo and his colleagues, the House package will still strip out the extraneous spending directed to states not affected by the
storm. It will then be sent to the Senate for their approval.