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House Supports $17 Billion in Aid for Hurricane Sandy Victims

The House supported $17 billion in emergency aid for Hurricane Sandy victims two weeks after Northeast Republicans denounced Speaker John Boehner’s cancellation of an earlier vote.

By a 327-91 vote, the House agreed to the provision that includes $5.4 billion for victims’ immediate needs in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Later yesterday, the House plans to consider an additional $33.7 billion in reconstruction spending to make rail tunnels and buildings less vulnerable to flooding in future storms.

Congress passed a $9.7 billion first installment of emergency aid Jan. 4. Altogether, the plan would total $60.4 billion.

“There is a federal responsibility to act,” said Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma. “We have a national interest in getting this region on its feet as quickly as possible.”

Residents of the three states “produce over 17 percent of the wealth of this country,” Cole said, so “having that area up and operational and prospering is critical to the prosperity of the country.”

Sandy struck the Northeast on Oct. 29, packing hurricane-force winds and driving flood waters that killed more than 125 people in 10 states. It inundated New York City’s subway system and ravaged shore communities from New Jersey’s Atlantic City to Bridgeport, Conn.

The region’s Republicans, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, protested when Boehner canceled a planned Jan. 1 vote on the package during the previous congressional session’s final days. They noted that Congress passed $51.8 billion in relief within 10 days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, then scheduled a vote Jan. 4, the second day of the new session.

That day, the House and Senate agreed to raise the national flood-insurance program’s borrowing authority by $9.7 billion.

That enabled the flood-insurance program to continue paying 120,000 claims from property owners in the Northeast whose homes and businesses were damaged by flooding caused by Sandy.

Yesterday’s debate reflected divisions about financing the disaster relief.

Disaster-aid legislation “shouldn’t be used as a grab-bag of spending having nothing to do with emergency relief,” said Rep. Tom McClintock, a Republican from California.

Citing a Congressional Budget Office analysis, McClintock complained that most of the $60.4 billion package “won’t even be spent this year.”

Correct Jim. The govt flood insurance program is a joke. Another money pit run poorly. A house in Biloxi valued at 183.00 flooded 15 times and claimed 1.4 million from the govt. Another house in Texas valued at 116,00 had insurance claims of 2 million because it flooded so many times. The average cost homeowners pay to the govt for flood insurance is 40% of what their home is worth. Another program run by the govt that is a complete failure.

“”produce over 17 percent of the wealth of this country”” – with all that talent and no one was able to think ahead to what could happen from a big storm. Oh wait – for decades they have been told what would happen. They chose to ignore it. Now that it has happened they want the rest of the country to pay for future preventative measures (~~$60 Billion) that these very people consciously decided they did not want to pay for. …… So much “pork” in here it should be called the 2013 stimulus spending plan……AT what point will people be told; if you build in a flood plain you do so at your own risk. Read about one home along Miss. river that has gotten money over 50 times due to flood water.

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