In one of its first actions as a lawmaking body under the 113th Congress, the House of Representatives passed a $9.7 billion package of flood insurance relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The vote comes after an uproar against House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) from Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the New York and New Jersey area. They were pissed with him about his cancellation of Tuesday’s vote on a $60 billion aid package for the region.
Boehner wouldn’t initially say why he canceled the vote, but promised to bring it up as one of the first agenda items in the new House session. Observers believed that the steep price tag was a bit too much for conservatives who are against more government spending — even though a natural disaster tore the state of New Jersey to pieces and flooded parts of New York City.
Even with thousands of people displaced and lives ruined, leave it up to conservative groups, like Club For Growth, to publicly ask lawmakers NOT to vote for the $9.7 billion aid package. They say the government should not be in the flood insurance program. I’m pretty sure their houses weren’t underwater in the storm.
Boehner did keep his promise to fast track the votes. But, the $9.7 billion is only a drop in the bucket to the original $60 billion proposed. The House plans to tackle the remaining amount in a vote on January 15. Friday’s House vote comes on the heels of reports from FEMA that they are running out of government funds to deal with the catastrophe.