US House passes Sandy insurance bill amid anger over delay

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 4, 2013 11:37am EST

WASHINGTON Jan 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved $9.7 billion in initial federal funds for victims of Superstorm Sandy, wi th New York and New Jersey lawmakers still seething over delays in voting on the rest of a $60 billion aid package.

The 354-67 vote will keep the National Flood Insurance Program solvent and able to continue paying claims of thousands of homeowners who suffered damage in coastal New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The measure still must receive approval from the U.S. Senate, where a senior Democratic aide said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was hoping to approve it by unanimous consent.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner drew scathing criticism earlier this week from fellow Republicans when he cancelled a House vote on the full $60.4 billion aid package passed by the Senate.

The frustration continued on both sides of the aisle on Friday, as lawmakers said the flood insurance infusion would do little to help the bulk of those suffering more than two months after the devastating Oct. 29 storm.