This first relief package is just a fraction of the total $60bn requested to rebuild in states hardest hit in October’s storm.
04 January 2013
East Coast Begins To Clean Up And Assess Damage From Hurricane Sandy
Some 140,000 flood-related insurance claims have been filed since Sandy hit
US leaders overwhelmingly approved the first large aid package for victims of Superstorm Sandy that hit the Northeast two months ago, days after failure to vote on it caused a political uproar.
The newly-seated House of Representatives, sworn in the day before, voted 354 to 67 on Friday to pass a $9.7bn (£6bn) measure to pay flood insurance claims.
The bill cleared the Senate later on Friday.
That is just a fraction of the total $60bn (£37bn) requested by the hardest-hit states for rebuilding efforts.
A vote on Sandy aid by the outgoing, Republican-controlled House was put off earlier this week.
It led to New Jersey’s famously outspoken Republican governor, Chris Christie, lashing out at his own party and joining New York’s Democratic governor and others in calling the delay a “disgrace.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie slammed the delayed vote
House Speaker John Boehner assured the angry lawmakers that votes on the states’ entire request would be held by mid-January.
Sandy caused 120 deaths in several states – most in New York and New Jersey – when it struck in late October.
Lawmakers have complained that it took just 10 days for Congress to approve about $50bn (£31bn) in aid for Katrina.
“People are waiting to be paid,” said New Jersey Representative Frank LoBiondo, whose district includes the casino-filled Atlantic City and many other coastal communities.