House passes Sandy insurance bill amid anger over delay

sandy_img

The House of Representatives on Friday approved $9.7 billion in initial federal funds for victims of Superstorm Sandy, with New York and New Jersey lawmakers still seething over delays in voting on the rest of a $60 billion aid package.

The 354-67 vote will keep the National Flood Insurance Program solvent and able to continue paying claims of thousands of homeowners who suffered damage in coastal New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The measure still must receive approval from the U.S. Senate, where a senior Democratic aide said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was hoping to approve it by unanimous consent.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner drew scathing criticism earlier this week from fellow Republicans when he cancelled a House vote on the full $60.4 billion aid package passed by the Senate.

The frustration continued on both sides of the aisle on Friday, as lawmakers said the flood insurance infusion would do little to help the bulk of those suffering more than two months after the devastating October 29 storm.

“It took only 10 days after Katrina for President Bush to sign $60 billion in Katrina aid,” said New Jersey Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell, referring to the 2005 hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast. “How dare you come to this floor and make people think everything is OK.”

The flood insurance program will run out of money in the coming days to pay claims unless Congress lets it borrow more funds, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Thursday.

FEMA has told Congress that unless its borrowing ceiling was raised, “funds available to pay claims will be exhausted sometime around the week of January 7, 2013,” the agency said in a one-sentence statement.

FEMA estimated Sandy-related flood losses of $6 billion to $12 billion in November, far beyond its cash and $3 billion in untapped borrowing authority.

After complaints from Republicans ranging from influential Republican Representative Peter King of New York, to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a possible presidential contender for 2016, Boehner scheduled Friday’s vote and a second vote on January 15 for about $51 billion in remaining disaster funds.

Putting more money into the program would come months after President Barack Obama signed a law aimed at improving its finances. Congress bailed out the program after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and it is $18 billion in debt.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…