House approves funding for Sandy insurance claims

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket
David Mccue stands near the roof to his beach house that was completely demolished by Superstorm Sandy on November 25, 2012 in Ortley Beach, New Jersey.  New Jersey Gov. Christie estimated that Superstorm Sandy cost New Jersey $29.4 billion in damage and economic losses.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Sandy aftermath

Still under pressure to provide federal aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy, the House on Friday voted to increase the borrowing limit for the National Flood Insurance Program, which will pay out 140,000 insurance claims for property damage.

The federal program offers subsidized insurance plans to homeowners who live near the nation's coasts, and it was on track to run out of money by next week if Congress did not act. The payouts in the bill will cost the federal government $9.7 billion.

Local leaders from areas hit hardest by the storm were outraged this week that the congressional vote on the extended funding did not come sooner.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday lashed out at Congress for failing to act, placing particular blame on House Speaker John Boehner.

"There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," Christie said.

Now that the bill has passed the House, the Senate intends to pass the measure on to President Barack Obama using an expedited process that requires no vote.

The funding increase to the insurance program is just the first step in a series of votes related to Sandy. The House plans to vote again later this month on a $51 billion package in relief aid to state governments still rebuilding after the storm.