Initially reluctant House lawmakers were ultimately unable to bear the pressure coming from New York and New Jersey officials this week, and have okayed $9.7 billion in relief funds for Hurricane Sandy victims, the New York Times reported. The aid will cover insurance claims filed by individuals whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
The initial $9.7 billion of relief is the least controversial portion of a much larger $51 billion aid package that states are seeking to help cover the costs of the storm for homeowners and local governments alike. The House has pledged to take up the balance of the aid package on Jan. 15, according to the Times.
The aid package passed 354 to 67 with bipartisan support and will now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
Speaker John Boehner, brought the bill to the floor, after attracting criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for failing to taking up a $60.4 billion aid bill that the Senate had already passed. Boehner faced the harshest criticism from Northeastern Republicans, such as Representative Peter King of Long Island and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
“We have been waiting for 11 weeks,” Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York City Democrat, said. “It is long overdue.” [NYT] –Christopher Cameron