Congressman Joe Courtney today released the following statement after he and bipartisan majority in the House voted, 241-180, to pass a $50.4-billion relief package for Hurricane Sandy victims. The vote comes 11 days after the House approved $9.7 billion in funding to replenish the National Flood Insurance Program.
"Northeastern states that were battered by Hurricane Sandy owe a sincere thank you to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican from New Jersey, for his tireless work on this bill," said Congressman Courtney. "He balanced the competing arguments for and against this package to produce a fair compromise that was capable of earning bipartisan support. The Federal Reserve Bank confirmed at the end of December that, as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy, the New York and Boston regions are experiencing some of the slowest economic growth in the country. That is precisely why Congress needed to pass this measure quickly, as it has in the case of past disasters. Recovery is about getting our nation's economy back on track, as well as allowing people to get their lives back in order. This bipartisan compromise should do just that."
Among the provisions of the measure, the bill provides:
· $11.5 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, which provides the most immediate source of relief and recovery assistance to individuals, families and communities in affected areas.
· $16 billion the amount provided to HUD for its community development fund (replacing the $3.9 billion in the Rogers amendment) for disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, and economic revitalization in the most affected and distressed areas
· $520 million for Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans to remain available until expended, as well as an additional $260 million in administrative expenses that could be transferred to and merged with SBA salaries and expenses funds.
· $274 million to fully support the Coast Guard's request for repairs to damaged facilities, including those impacted at the Coast Guard Academy in New London.