The House of Representatives approved the first of two bills expected to be voting on today which, if also approved in the U.S. Senate and signed by the Presdient, will provide $50 billion in federal funds to New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to rebuild from the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy.
The $17 billion approved this afternoon will pay for Sandy clean-up, dredging, small business loans and infrastructure repairs. The $33 billion to be voted on tonight will be for the longer term rebuilding effort.
The bills were split in two to accommodate members of the Republican caucus who support the $17 billion, but not the $33 billion.
According to The Star Ledger, New Jersey Republican Congressmen Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2) and Jon Runyan (NJ-3) ripped into their fellow Republicans for withholding support of the disaster assistance.
“To my colleagues who have sought funding themselves and now say we need to change the rules of the game: shame on you,” Rep. Frank LoBiondo (D-N.J.) said after the vote. “We need to have a new caucus, the hypocritical caucus.”
Rep. Jon Runyan (R-3rd Dist.) said he knew more than 30 of his Republican colleagues who oppose the bill even though they sought similar aid when disaster struck their districts.
“Mr. Speaker — I would say to my friends — why should New Jersey and New York be treated any differently? ” Runyon said. “My friends should ask themselves what would they do if it was their district that suffered the amount of catastrophic loss that many of the families and businesses in my district now face.”
Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone said that Republicans that opposed the aid do not understand the extent of the damage.