The House made good on its second chance to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
By a vote of 241 to 180, the House of Representatives passed an aid package of $50.7 billion, including $17 billion in immediate disaster relief funds for victims.
“We put the politics aside. We’re doing the right thing,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) told Hardball‘s Chris Matthews before the vote. “It’s bad enough to be devastated by a weather storm. It’s unacceptable to be devastated by a political storm.”
The vote comes after the year 2012 ended without a House vote on aid for Sandy victims. The delay sparked widespread outrage from both Democrats and Republicans who represent the region, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “New Jersey does not expect anything more than what was done in Louisiana, and Alabama, and Mississippi in Katrina,” Christie said Monday. “We don’t expect anything more than that, but we will not accept anything less. And if they want to make new rules about disasters, well they picked the wrong state to make the new rules with.”
The House voted on 13 amendments to the relief bill, including a $33.67 billion bill in additional aid for long-term recovery efforts. On January 4th, the House passed a bill to provide $9.7 billion in funding for the National Flood Insurance Program for victims of the October 29th superstorm.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says it is the worst disaster New York has seen and the most costly since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The storm damaged 305,000 homes in New York and 346,000 households in New Jersey.
“Our residents have been trying to rebuild their lives,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday. “They have been waiting for Washington D.C. to act.”
“These people are hurting, they need the help of the government,” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) told MSNBC’s Hardball. “The bottom line is we’re gonna get this done.”