Over the weekend, President Obama signed legislation to provide an initial $9.7 billion in disaster relief funding for states recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The funding will provide additional borrowing authority to enable the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue processing claims under the National Flood Insurance Program.
The House passed the bill on Friday by a 354-67 vote, and the Senate then passed it with a voice vote.
Last month the White House requested $60.4 billion in supplemental funding for priorities such as the Community Development Block Grant program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response and recovery efforts, the National Flood Insurance Program, repairs to transportation infrastructure in places such as New York City, and Federal Transit Administration and Army Corps of Engineers programs to reduce the risk of future flooding and damage to transportation systems.
Prior to the end of the 112th Congress, the Senate passed a bill that would have provided the funding requested by the White House.
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor said last week that the House would consider the remainder of the administration’s request on Jan. 15, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress. One of the major issues in the House is likely to be the size of the bill. The Senate bill provides the full $60.4 billion request, though many House Republicans have said that the bill should be smaller and focus only on the most immediate funding needs.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers has introduced legislation to provide $17 billion in additional funding “to meet immediate and critical needs for Sandy victims and their communities.” Rogers indicated that the House would vote on his legislation and a separate amendment to provide an additional $33 billion for longer-term recovery efforts to help prevent damage from future disasters.