The U.S. House passed the first installment of emergency disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy on the morning of Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The 354-67 vote comes after severe criticism of House leaders by fellow Republicans for a vote being delayed in the matter.
The vote on Friday morning allows the government flood insurance program to continue paying damage claims by those affected in Superstorm Sandy.The measure needed a two-thirds supermajority to pass in a hastily matter, and it raises the program's borrowing authority by $9.7 billion.
It is expected that the Senate will clear the measure later on Friday.
"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 New York Republican Peter King.
Republican House leaders rushed the legislation to the floor on just the second day of the new Congress. King and other lawmakers had protested Speaker John Boehner's cancellation of vote on a larger package on Jan. 1, 2013. King said after the delay that anyone from New York and New Jersey that gave money to the party's campaigns "should have their head examined."