Congress Passes $9.7 Billion Superstorm Sandy Aid Bill, GOP Members Still Divided
Congress moved quickly to approve a $9.7 billion aid bill for residents affected by Superstorm Sandy earlier today. After House Republicans were criticized for nixing a late Tuesday vote over a $60 billion bill, Friday's session was approved swiftly amid divide over the government assistance package reports the Washington Post.
The bill will give the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) power to pay out claims to those residents who owned federal flood insurance. The House leaned in high favor of the bill with a vote of 354 to 67. The Senate's swift unanimous voice vote approved the bill before sending it to President Barack Obama for signature.
House Speaker John Boehner has been vilified by New York and New Jersey officials enraged that he cancelled the vote three days earlier. The Republican congressman has been dealing with rumblings of dissatisfaction among those in his party. Some GOP members voted against him in his re-election to the House leadership post. Boehner may have foreseen grand opposition to the earlier aid bill, as votes against the latest measure came from fellow Republicans.
Conservative group Club For Growth was said to be instrumental in getting the bill passed by urging Republican lawmakers that the passage of the bill and its costs should be offset by cuts to other government programs. A larger $51 billion has been mentioned by Boehner to appear before the House later this month.
The overwhelming Democratic support of the bill and public snafus of Republicans in the House have been alarming developments within the Beltway of late, raising question of Speaker Boehner's level of power.