House passes part one of Sandy relief package

Politicians in New Jersey are praising the passage of part one of a Superstorm Sandy relief package. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $9.7 billion measure Friday to fund the national flood insurance program. A vote to put an additional $51 billion toward Sandy relief will take place Jan. 15.

Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey warned his fellow House members before the vote, that the funds are urgently needed. “Thus far, only 18 percent have received funds pursuant to their claims.  Over 80 percent of my constituents, who have filed claims, are waiting in limbo and in an intolerable situation that is making a bad situation worse.

Fellow Republican 3rd Congressional District Rep. John Runyan said he was pleased that the House of Representatives had approved the first installment of funds. “It has been more than two months since the storm made landfall in Southern New Jersey and caused more than $60 billion in damage along the east coast.” His district encompasses parts of Burlington, Camden and Ocean counties.

Friday’s vote came days after Northeast Republicans erupted over House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to delay an earlier vote. N.J. Governor Chris Christie blasted his own party calling the delay “inexcusable.”

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