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$9.7 Billion Sandy Funding Approved By Congress

U.S. House of Representatives approved funding for the National Flood Insurance Program.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure late Friday afternoon allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to borrow $9.7 billion to pay insurance claims made by victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The bill, HR 41, temporarily increases the borrowing authority of FEMA to allow the agency to carry out payment claims made by property owners to the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Congress moved to approve the funding stop-gap Friday after concerns were raised that aid for Sandy victims had been delayed too long. The House, specifically, Majority Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, came under fire for tabling a Sandy aid package until after the New Year.  

Congress is expected to vote on two additional bills authorizing more than $50 billion in Sandy aid on Jan. 15. 

The insurance aid bill was introduced by Rep. Scott Garrett, R-5, along with 19 co-sponsors, all of them Representatives from either New Jersey or New York.

According to Bloomberg, the measure passed 354-67. The 67 who voted against the bill are all Republicans. 

Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) one of the bill's co-sponsors, took to the floor of Congress Friday to urge his fellow Representatives to support the legislation. 

"The devastation unleashed by Sandy is without precedent and the impacted communities are in dire need of comprehensive assistance," he said. "Nowhere is this more evident than in the sheer magnitude of the housing damage and the subsequent housing need."

According to Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey suffered more than $37 billion in property damage following Sandy. According to Christie's office, Smith said, Sandy damaged or destroyed 346,000 housing unites throughout the state, of which more than 72,000 were covered by the NFIP. 

Smith said only 18 percent of those who have filed claims have received money thus far. 

Local Congressional leaders, both Republican and Democrats, joined Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in voicing their displeasure over the delay in aid for Sandy victims.

Christie in particular had harsh words for Congress, saying Sandy victims had been played like pawns in a political game and that the delay in voting on the funding package was the result of toxic politics within the Republican party. 

In a joint statement released Friday afternoon, Christie and Cuomo said, "today's action by the House was a necessary and critical first step toward delivering aid to the people of New Jersey and New York."

"While we are pleased with this progress, today was just a down payment and it is now time to go even further and pass the final and more complete, clean disaster aid bill," the statement read.

"We are trusting Congress to act accordingly on January 15th and pass the final $51 billion instrumental for long-term rebuilding in order for New Jersey, New York and our people to recover after the severe devastation of Hurricane Sandy."

Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Scott Garrett has a long history of cutting funding and denying government assistance wherever it is needed. "We can't spend out way to prosperity," he says. As a congressman, he has a long history on the topic. On July 12, 2011 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 556 (H.R. 1309), a provision that eliminated a provision in a flood insurance bill that directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to designate areas behind levees and dams as “residual risk” floodplains. On July 12, 2011 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 554 (H.R. 1309), an amendment that would have prohibited lenders from requiring homeowners to purchase flood insurance in an amount greater than the outstanding principal balance of a home loan. On July 8, 2011 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 533 (H.R. 1309), legislation that reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program, which allowed the program to continue operating through fiscal year 2016, setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill. On July 22, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 466 (H.R. 1264), legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage, on the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill.
Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:26 PM
(cont'd) On July 22, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 465 (H.R. 1264), legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage – On bringing to a final vote the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill. On July 15, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 447 (H.R.5114), legislation authorizing $476 million for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood insurance coverage to property owners. On July 15, 2010 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 446 (H.R. 5114), a motion to recommit (which is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure) that would have eliminated an outreach program intended to educate property owners about how the National Flood Insurance Program (which provides flood insurance coverage to property owners). On Jul 15, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 443 (H.R. 5114), legislation authorizing $476 million for the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides flood insurance coverage to property owners- the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill. On March 24, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 186 (H.R. 4899), legislation providing $5.1 billion to aid communities affected by natural disasters, and $600 million for a summer youth jobs program.
Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:28 PM
On March 24, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 179 (H.R. 4899), legislation providing $5.1 billion to aid communities affected by natural disasters, and $600 million for a summer youth jobs program -- On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to the bill On April 18, 2007 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 225 (H.R. 1361), reforming federal disaster loans to small business. On Apr 18, 2007 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 223 (H.R. 1361), reforming the program providing federal disaster loans to small business- Rep. Steve Chabot’s (R-Ohio) amendment to remove language allowing the Small Business Authority the ability to offer grants of up to $100,000 for certain businesses severely affected by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma On April 18, 2007 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 222 (H.R. 1361), reforming federal disaster loans to small business- Rep. Steve Chabot’s (R-Ohio) amendment to remove language allowing duplicate benefits for the victims of the 2005 hurricanes.
Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:28 PM
The idea that Garrett just wants to cut pork is a diversion. This is about not wanting to pay disaster assistance, period. He might also not like spending on other things that he calls pork either, but this is a case of opposing spending, regardless of need, as a generalized principle- an unreasoned and callous matter of knee-jerk ideology.
Michael January 07, 2013 at 05:24 PM
LMAO Cletus

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