WASHINGTON – The first round of federal funding for damage caused by Superstorm Sandy is now on its way to the areas that need it most. On Sunday President Obama has signed into law a $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims from the storm.
The law increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA had warned that it was set to run out of money without additional funding from Congress. The White House said more than 100,000 flood claim payments from Sandy would be delayed without the additional money.
Chautauqua County’s new congressman – Tom Reed (R-Corning) said he was pleased to see to see the relief bill pass the House with such strong bipartisan support, saying it is the kind of support congress needs to be showing to those devastated by the storm. The new 23rd Congressional District spans all the way across the southern tier to Ithaca. It saw some storm damage from Sandy, especially in the eastern part of the district.
Meanwhile, the House has yet to act on a larger, more comprehensive Sandy aid package. Republican leaders did not bring the bill to the floor before the last session of Congress adjourned. However, House Speaker John Boehner has promised a vote on Jan. 15 on the remaining $51 billion package, and Senate leaders have promised a vote the following week.
Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and several members of congress from the states affected by the storm denounced Boehner for delaying a vote on the larger storm aid package.