House Overwhelmingly Passes Sandy Aid Bill

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A measure to help flood victims affected by Superstorm Sandy was overwhelmingly approved by the House in a 354-67 vote Friday .

The $9.7 billion bill grants additonal borrowing authority to National Flood Insurance Program to pay 115,000 pending claims.

The vote comes days after bipartisan outrage over House Speaker John Boehner's decision to postpone a decision on flood aid.

"It's important to put past recrimination behind us…Let's go forward standing as one," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Friday.

"While it is never too late to do the right thing, it is late that we are doing this thing and we are doing only the bare minimum," Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that the National Flood Insurance Program will run out of funds without approval to borrow more money.

Lawmakers say business and homeowners are still waiting for insurance checks, two months after the storm.

"People are waiting to be paid," said Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., whose district includes coastal communities devastated by the storm.

"They're sleeping in rented rooms on cots somewhere and they're not happy," he continued. "They want to get their lives back on track and it's cold outside. They see no prospect of relief."

So far, the federal government has spent more than $2 billion in relief efforts for  the District of Columbia and 11 states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts.

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