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Congress promises another vote on Superstorm Sandy relief

By 69 News, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 05 2013 04:21:46 AM CST
Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell

Larry Downing / Reuters

WASHINGTON -

House Speaker John Boehner is promising that lawmakers will vote later this month on a broader $51 billion package of aid for Superstorm Sandy victims.

The new Congress rushed out $9.7 billion on Friday to help pay flood insurance claims to 115,000 people and businesses affected by the storm.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer says it's a ``small down payment'' for what's needed.

A political tempest was touched off when House Republican leaders sidestepped an expected vote on a $60.4 billion bill. Some GOP lawmakers complained of pork projects unrelated to the storm. But the delay enraged lawmakers from the Northeast, including Republicans.

Sandy is the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It damaged or destroyed 305,000 housing units in New York and more than 265,000 businesses. More than 72,000 homes and businesses were damaged in New Jersey.

The governors of New Jersey and New York said Friday's vote by the U.S House to approve more than $9 billion in assistance for victims of Superstorm Sandy is a good start.
 
But they also want Congress to approve the much larger $51 billion package that's due for a vote Jan. 15.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a joint statement called Friday's vote ``a down payment'' on the full needs of their two states.

Christie is a Republican who excoriated the leadership of his own party in the House when it failed to bring an aid bill to a vote earlier this week.