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$9.7 Billion Sandy Funding Approved By Congress

U.S. House of Representatives approved funding for the National Flood Insurance Program.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure late Friday afternoon allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to borrow $9.7 billion to pay insurance claims made by victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The bill, HR 41, temporarily increases the borrowing authority of FEMA to allow the agency to carry out payment claims made by property owners to the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Congress moved to approve the funding stop-gap Friday after concerns were raised that aid for Sandy victims had been delayed too long. The House, specifically, Majority Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, came under fire for tabling a Sandy aid package until after the New Year.  

Congress is expected to vote on two additional bills authorizing more than $50 billion in Sandy aid on Jan. 15. 

The insurance aid bill was introduced by Rep. Scott Garrett, R-5, along with 19 co-sponsors, all of them Representatives from either New Jersey or New York.

According to Bloomberg, the measure passed 354-67. The 67 who voted against the bill are all Republicans. 

Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) one of the bill's co-sponsors, took to the floor of Congress Friday to urge his fellow Representatives to support the legislation. 

"The devastation unleashed by Sandy is without precedent and the impacted communities are in dire need of comprehensive assistance," he said. "Nowhere is this more evident than in the sheer magnitude of the housing damage and the subsequent housing need."

According to Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey suffered more than $37 billion in property damage following Sandy. According to Christie's office, Smith said, Sandy damaged or destroyed 346,000 housing unites throughout the state, of which more than 72,000 were covered by the NFIP. 

Smith said only 18 percent of those who have filed claims have received money thus far. 

Local Congressional leaders, both Republican and Democrats, joined Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in voicing their displeasure over the delay in aid for Sandy victims.

Christie in particular had harsh words for Congress, saying Sandy victims had been played like pawns in a political game and that the delay in voting on the funding package was the result of toxic politics within the Republican party. 

In a joint statement released Friday afternoon, Christie and Cuomo said, "today's action by the House was a necessary and critical first step toward delivering aid to the people of New Jersey and New York."

"While we are pleased with this progress, today was just a down payment and it is now time to go even further and pass the final and more complete, clean disaster aid bill," the statement read.

"We are trusting Congress to act accordingly on January 15th and pass the final $51 billion instrumental for long-term rebuilding in order for New Jersey, New York and our people to recover after the severe devastation of Hurricane Sandy."

Jim Dunleavy January 05, 2013 at 05:29 AM
For those who are Republicans...reassess where you send your hard earned cash. Disasters are not political chips. these are people's lives, to even wait til the 15th of jan for a vote is deplorable. mr. King from Ny while first being a great spokesman for his constituents, bailed out and agreed it was ok with this silly waiting. Mr Garrett, shameful, simply shameful you are no representative of mine. Our fellow citizens need helo, Congress has screwed up again, remember in 2014
Harlan Consider January 05, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Jim, you need to understand that the reluctance of the Republicans was due to all the pork in the bill, not the Sandy victims. There was so much outrageous stuff tacked into the bill. Of course, the mainstream media once again successfully under reported this aspect and did their usual cheer leading for the Democrats.
john nalepka January 05, 2013 at 11:37 AM
thanks for being educated harlan as when does 250 m for update to smithsonian.musuem come unde r ths bill.stop the pork packaging and please read whole bill on own dont wait for.media sound bytes.wake up n read
B@B January 05, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Scondo, I am with you on that. But what about year round residents, who moved to the hard hit areas long before storms like this took place more than every hundred years or so? It is unfair to categorize them in the same way. MMaybe we have to help them relocate, but to lump them together with weather second homeowners is inaccurate and unfair.
B@B January 05, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Harlan: then why is their reticence only when the aid goes to blue states?
stewart resmer January 05, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Why did Christie go so easy on Tea Party in Sandy aid squabble? A. Christie will need their support if he is to run for president 2016. http://bridgewater.patch.com/articles/97-billion-sandy-funding-approved-by-congress
Edward P. Campbell January 05, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Can anyone show me anywhere in the Constitution of the United States of America where the US Government is allowed to be involved in insurance? I hate to be a dick about this, but there is reason private insurances companies won’t sell flood insurance in areas like this. Why should the government? It seems to me by selling (actually forcing) the government selling of insurance, provides the very reason for the mass destruction. I mean it is simple right. No homes on the shore, no destruction! I agree the people who paid their premiums are entitled their coverage. However, we should act to ensure no more government flood insurance to be given to flood prone areas. In other words I’m saying the victims of the flood should take the money they get walk away from the shore and buy or rebuild in areas that don’t flood. The definition of insanity is doing the something over and over and expecting a different result. So what are we if we keep rebuilding the shore only to watch it get devastated again?
Edward P. Campbell January 05, 2013 at 12:53 PM
B@B – There are a couple of terms that are misunderstood by the vast amount of Americans. The term “100 year storm” is one of them. It by no means, means a storm like Sandy only comes once in 100 years. What it really means is you have a 1 in 100 chance of a storm like Sandy occurring every day. That, BTW, is thousands of times better odds than winning the lottery today.
Macy January 05, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Funny thing all the bills produced by congress are loaded with PORK! Doesnt make it right, but it is the way our politics workd. Also, lets be honest, there is pork that benefits both parties, not just dem and not just rep, so lets move on and maybe as taxpayers we need to start holding our local politicans feet to the fire to stop all the garbage and stop loading bills with pork and maybe, just maybe we can start getting our house in order. Meanwhile lets start getting some help to the people whos homes were destroyed some help. Insurance companies sure arent doing their part!
John Hahn January 05, 2013 at 01:01 PM
"Insurance companies sure arent doing their part!" But insurance companies are there to make a profit. The less they pay out the more they keep. Insurance companies as an entity are not your friend. They take your money…but.
Ojo Rojo January 05, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Just b/c the NFIP is a joke, that doesn't mean Congress shouldn't provide the funding necessary for a program they themselves set up to not charge enough to cover expected claims. Congress should have passed the funding w/o any delay. Congress should also revisit the NFIP and put it on a path towards solvency in the long term.
BillBalls January 05, 2013 at 02:42 PM
John – Do you think the government is your friend? Talk about someone who takes your money and gives you nothing in return. BTW, the company you work for makes a profit too, otherwise they couldn’t pay you.
Cletus January 05, 2013 at 03:17 PM
If the government "gives you nothing in return", you use no highways and have no need for fire or police departments, correct, BillBalls?
Larry Huyler January 05, 2013 at 04:42 PM
You all have nothing to worry about. Money not approved and sent to aid Sandy's victims will gladly be given to other countries as foreign aid. Your money and tax dollars at work by the government that helps everyone else but the Americans that truly need it.
leanbean January 05, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Stewart, If he was worried about the tea party's support? He wouldn't have been on the beach with the Pres. Your just a die hard Dem.
George Walsh January 05, 2013 at 06:43 PM
If any of you out there are still interested in what the NFIP is about here is an excerpt from Wikipedia that might be informative. "Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between local communities and the federal government which states that if a community will adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), the federal government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses. The SFHAs and other risk premium zones applicable to each participating community are depicted on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The Mitigation Division within the Federal Emergency Management Agency manages the NFIP and oversees the floodplain management and mapping components of the Program."
George Walsh January 05, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Here's a little more from Wikipedia (Patch limits a comment to 1500 characters) "The intent was to reduce future flood damage through community floodplain management ordinances and provide protection for property owners against potential losses through an insurance mechanism that requires a premium to be paid for the protection. The NFIP is meant to be self-supporting, though in 2004 Congress found that repetitive-loss properties cost the taxpayer about $200 million annually. Congress originally intended that operating expenses and flood insurance claims be paid for through the premiums collected for flood insurance policies.[3] NFIP borrows from the U.S. Treasury for times when losses are heavy, and these loans are paid back with interest. Since 1978, the National Flood Insurance Program has paid more than $38 billion in claims (as of March 31, 2011). More than 40 percent of that money has gone to residents of Louisiana.[4]
Nucky Thompson January 05, 2013 at 07:19 PM
John, did you ever work for NASA?
George Walsh January 05, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Two Types of Flood Insurance Coverage The NFIP's Dwelling Form offers coverage for: 1. Building Property, up to $250,000, and 2. Personal Property (Contents), up to $100,000. The NFIP encourages people to purchase both types of coverage.Your mortgage company can require that you purchase a certain amount of flood insurance coverage. For information about your specific limits of coverage and deductibles, refer to the Declarations Page in your flood insurance policy. It’s also a good idea to review your policy with your insurance agent or company representative
Cletus January 05, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Howler of the month: "I hate to be a dick about this..." ~Edward P. Campbell
stewart resmer January 05, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Larger Sandy Relief Bill Was 'Rape Of The Treasury' Charles Krauthammer
Cletus January 05, 2013 at 11:00 PM
If it was a legitimate rape, the Treasury has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
CVNGNR January 06, 2013 at 01:52 AM
@Edward ... 100 year storm speaks about a storm on an annual basis not daily. Its annual exceedance probability is1% with a return period of 100 years. The misconception is the storm will only occur once every 100 years but statistically a 100 year storm has a 63% chance of re-occurring in a given 100 year period as we have seen in the past three years. Hate to be a dick ...
Edward P. Campbell January 06, 2013 at 02:46 AM
@CVNGNR; You are not being a dick. I stand corrected, you are right it does mean a 1% chance of happening each year. However, it can happen every year, or for that matter every week. The point is --- It did, and it will again!
Beachdudeca January 06, 2013 at 07:03 AM
Just a tiny reality check, Those in Congress can write their own package without any Pork as some are calling it. But, it does not change the anticipated fact that unlike when Katrina hit the Democrats will not be able to prevent the Congress from holding up the balance of funds unless budget cuts are made to offset this expenditure. So lets go down by percentage of what they can cut, ( % Represents the amount they represent of the 2013 Budget ) Defense - 24 % - Do we opt to move our troops home from Europe and Asia, and require that NATO, and Japan. India, Korea militarize? Health Care 22 % - Do we make drastic cuts to what is covered near the end of ones life, and as such opt to cease expensive health costs to extend life a few days, weeks, months, and replace that with Hospice care? Welfare 12 % , Education 4 % , - For those of us that live on the Coasts, it would be great if these costs were moved to the States, but it could change these programs in the South, and West radically.
Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Scott Garrett has a long history of cutting funding and denying government assistance wherever it is needed. "We can't spend out way to prosperity," he says. As a congressman, he has a long history on the topic. On July 12, 2011 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 556 (H.R. 1309), a provision that eliminated a provision in a flood insurance bill that directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to designate areas behind levees and dams as “residual risk” floodplains. On July 12, 2011 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 554 (H.R. 1309), an amendment that would have prohibited lenders from requiring homeowners to purchase flood insurance in an amount greater than the outstanding principal balance of a home loan. On July 8, 2011 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 533 (H.R. 1309), legislation that reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program, which allowed the program to continue operating through fiscal year 2016, setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill. On July 22, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 466 (H.R. 1264), legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage, on the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill.
Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:26 PM
(cont'd) On July 22, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 465 (H.R. 1264), legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage – On bringing to a final vote the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill. On July 15, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 447 (H.R.5114), legislation authorizing $476 million for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood insurance coverage to property owners. On July 15, 2010 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 446 (H.R. 5114), a motion to recommit (which is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure) that would have eliminated an outreach program intended to educate property owners about how the National Flood Insurance Program (which provides flood insurance coverage to property owners). On Jul 15, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 443 (H.R. 5114), legislation authorizing $476 million for the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides flood insurance coverage to property owners- the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill. On March 24, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 186 (H.R. 4899), legislation providing $5.1 billion to aid communities affected by natural disasters, and $600 million for a summer youth jobs program.
Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:28 PM
On March 24, 2010 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 179 (H.R. 4899), legislation providing $5.1 billion to aid communities affected by natural disasters, and $600 million for a summer youth jobs program -- On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to the bill On April 18, 2007 Scott Garrett voted NO on Roll Call 225 (H.R. 1361), reforming federal disaster loans to small business. On Apr 18, 2007 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 223 (H.R. 1361), reforming the program providing federal disaster loans to small business- Rep. Steve Chabot’s (R-Ohio) amendment to remove language allowing the Small Business Authority the ability to offer grants of up to $100,000 for certain businesses severely affected by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma On April 18, 2007 Scott Garrett voted YES on Roll Call 222 (H.R. 1361), reforming federal disaster loans to small business- Rep. Steve Chabot’s (R-Ohio) amendment to remove language allowing duplicate benefits for the victims of the 2005 hurricanes.
Ridgewood Mom January 06, 2013 at 01:28 PM
The idea that Garrett just wants to cut pork is a diversion. This is about not wanting to pay disaster assistance, period. He might also not like spending on other things that he calls pork either, but this is a case of opposing spending, regardless of need, as a generalized principle- an unreasoned and callous matter of knee-jerk ideology.
Michael January 07, 2013 at 05:24 PM
LMAO Cletus

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