Washington, Jan 4 (IANS) The US House of Representatives Friday passed a legislation that would make payments worth $9.7 billion to insurance claims related to Hurricane Sandy.
The bill to allow the National Flood Insurance Program to increase its borrowing authority was approved by the Republican-controlled House with a 354-67 vote, Xinhua reported.
The bill was the first of two steps House Speaker John Boehner said he would take to meet the demands of relief for those affected by Sandy.
He also promised a vote Jan 15 to provide over $50 billion dollars of aid.
The federal government has handed the Congress a sweeping relief bill that would provide over $60 billion to those affected by Sandy, which struck late last year.
The Senate has already passed it, but the House has failed to act on it.
Boehner and House Republicans were criticised by Democrats and Republicans alike for its inaction.
Sandy made landfall in New Jersey in late October 2012, causing widespread damage in 24 states, killing over 100 people and causing at least $60 billion worth of damage.
The Senate approved Dec 28, 2012 the emergency relief bill put forward by President Barack Obama.