WASHINGTON (AP) — The new Congress has passed a $9.7 billion bill to help pay flood insurance claims to homeowners, renters and businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The bill cleared the Senate following passage earlier Friday by the House. It replenishes the National Flood Insurance Program that was due to run out of money next week with some 115,000 Sandy-related claims as well as 5,000 from other floods unresolved.
A panel commissioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bolster preparations for the next superstorm has recommended a state fuel reserve, citizen training, tougher building codes, generators at gas stations, and a depot of emergency provisions. WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports.
After voting to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, House of Representative lawmakers from New York expressed outrage that there was no move to vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief supplemental appropriations bill before Congress adjourns tomorrow. On Friday, the U.S Senate passed a Sandy disaster relief package, and many congressional representatives said the majority support was also there to pass a bill in the House. After much criticism and pressure today, one House member says there is now a vote scheduled, one for the end of the week.
Republican Rep. Peter King says the speaker will schedule a vote Friday for $9 billion in flood insurance and another on Jan. 15 for a remaining $51 billion in the package. The votes will be taken by the new Congress that will be sworn in Thursday.
The vote to avoid the fiscal cliff left a certain House bill still hanging, as House of Representative leaders did not hold a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief funds, a supplemental appropriations bill. And while lawmakers in the Hudson Valley affected by Sandy voted to avoid the fiscal cliff, they expressed frustration and disbelief at not having the chance to vote on the Sandy Aid package. The Senate did pass a $60.4 billion Sandy disaster relief package a few days ago. Matt Dennis is the spokesman for Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who represents the 18th Congressional District, which includes parts of Rockland and Westchester Counties, areas hard-hit by Sandy.
Governor Cuomo appeared with leaders of New York’s congressional delegation to urge Congress to finally act on a federal aid package for victims of Superstorm Sandy, seven weeks after the destructive storm.
Governor Cuomo, and New York’s congressional delegation say it’s taking longer to secure federal money for victims of Superstorm Sandy than it did for Congress to act after Katrina.
More than $664 million in federal aid has been approved for New York's victims of Superstorm Sandy by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA said Sunday that more than 230,000 New Yorkers have requested assistance since the storm hit. The hardest hit areas of the state include Nassau County, which has received about $224 million. Queens County, which includes the hard-hit Rockaways, has received $170 million.
Richmond County, the home of battered Staten Island, has received about $70 million.