The new Congress will vote today, Jan. 4, on $9 billion for a national flood insurance proposal and again on Jan. 15 for the $51 billion remaining in aid for Superstorm Sandy victims.
The votes were scheduled after House Speaker John Boehner canceled a vote on aid for Sandy victims Tuesday night when the House vote avoided major tax increase and spending that would have resulted from going past the fiscal cliff deadline.
The canceled votes set off a firestorm of criticism of Boehner from New Jersey and New York officials, including New York City Council District 3 Speaker Christine Quinn, who was still miffed Jan. 4 despite the scheduled votes.
“When disaster strikes, Americans come together to support one another,” Quinn said through a spokesperson. “But Congress and the U.S. House Speaker John Boehner are playing party politics with peoples’ lives and dividing our country by delaying $60.4 billion in emergency relief to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”
Quinn said that after Hurricane Katrina and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco, Congress appropriated emergency funds within 10 days. “But [more than] 60 days have passed since Sandy and now the new session of Congress must once again bring the funding package to a vote in both Congressional chambers. The human and economic impact of Sandy is so severe and evident, it’s impossible to understand why the House would go into recess before taking action to assist our region.”
The vote had already passed the Senate, but will have to pass the Senate again.
Hurricane Sandy killed more than 130 people and caused an estimated $82 billion in damage. The $9 million will go toward home and business insurance claims. The $51 billion to be voted on Jan. 15 includes $18 billion in immediate assistance and $33 billion for long-term projects and projects to protect against future storms.