After days of being publicly shamed on both sides of the political spectrum for not approve relief aid for desperate Hurricane Sandy victims, the House of Representatives on January 4 approved a 9.7 billion in aid to the still reeling states of New Jersey and New York.
According to MSNBC, the bill would expand the borrowing authority for homeowners and business owners. The Federal Emergency Agency told Congress that it needed to have additional borrowing power to help settled the claims of more than 140,000 home and business owners. Without that authority, FEMA said, their funds to pay out claims would have exhausted the very next week.
Congress is expecting to vote on the rest of the 51 billion dollar package on January 5, but representatives from New York and New Jersey are telling lawmakers that storm victims cannot wait that long for relief aid to show. Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York told MSNBC that victims cannot wait any longer for federal aid. She said:
The victims of super-storm Sandy can wait no longer. It's been 11 weeks. Haven't they suffered and waited long enough? New Yorkers are screaming for assistance.
Republican Scott Garrett of New Jersey told MSNBC that the flood insurance claims are being paid. He told MSNBC:
The people in the area have not been waiting; their NFIP claims have been paid from day one. We are just here today to ensure that those payments continue.
Jeb Hensarling, a Republican from Texas and the House Financial Services Committee chairman, told MSNBC that the flood insurance claims need to be paid right now. But he also said that the NFIB, which is taxpayer funded, is beyond broke. He said his committee will look at a bill this year to put the NFIP in the hands of private insurers.
The House passed the partial Sandy relief bill 354 to 67, with no Democrats rejecting he bill. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.