Hurricane Sandy Relief Finally On Its Way

For New Yorkers, the effects of Hurricane Sandy are still visible on a day-to-day basis. Demolition crews continue to work on clean-up, people are still without their homes, and some families are just now getting the heat turned back on. That’s why for New Yorkers, Congress’ delay in providing Hurricane Sandy relief seems a cruel joke. The Representatives refused to allow a vote on a $60.4 billion Sandy bill in the final hours of the 112th Congress, causing outrage among the Northeastern states hardest hit by the storm.

“It’s why the American people hate Congress,” Governor Chris Christie stated. “Unlike the people in Congress, we have actual responsibilities.”

Fortunately, as the second week of January rolls around, it looks like the government is closer to an agreement in getting help for Superstorm Sandy victims in New York.

Delay in help for Superstorm Sandy victims in New York

GOP sources reportedly delayed the Congress vote on Hurricane Sandy aid out of frustration about the pared-back spending cuts in the fiscal-cliff bill. $60 billion in new spending (up from the original $27-30 billion package) was a difficult pill to swallow at the wrong time. House Speaker Boehner was promptly criticized, however, for his party’s perceived insensitivity to Sandy victims.

Christie pointed out that hurricane relief was provided more quickly to victims of Katrina and Hurricane Andrew in Florida—after 30 days. Sandy victims, on the other hand, have been waiting 65 days so far for relief. According to early estimates, the storm inflicted at least $50-60 billion in damage across the Northeast.

Hurricane Sandy relief on the way

At the beginning of the new Congress, Boehner stated he was committed to passing the bill for Hurricane Sandy relief in the month of January. On January 4, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims for the many home and business owners flooded out by the storm. This money was originally in the $27 billion measure.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill as well, with the President promising to sign quickly. The bill provides more borrowing authority to the National Flood Insurance Program, which is expected to use it to pay about 120,000 pending claims. If the bill hadn’t passed, the fund wouldn’t have been able to pay new damage claims after January 7th, 2013.

This first part is only the beginning, with another vote expected January 15 for an additional $51 billion. This will include $18 billion in immediate assistance and $33 billion for longer-term projects, including those that will help protect the area against future storms and repair damaged transportation systems.

If you have suffered damage from the storm, contact an attorney at The Sanders Firm. Particularly if your insurance doesn’t cover part of the damage, we can help negotiate a fair payout for you. Call us today for a free initial consultation: 1-800 FAIR PLAY (324-7752).