Washington • President Barack Obama has signed into law a $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims from Superstorm Sandy.
The law increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA had warned that it was set to run out of money without additional dollars from Congress.
The White House said more than 100,000 flood claim payments from Sandy would be delayed without the additional money.
The House has yet to act on a larger, more comprehensive Sandy aid package. Republican leaders did not bring the bill to the floor before the previous session of Congress adjourned.
House Speaker John Boehner has promised a vote Jan. 15 on that $51 billion package, and Senate leaders promised a vote the next week.
Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie smacked down Boehner for delaying a vote on the storm aid package. Christie said he tried to call Boehner four times Tuesday, but none of the calls was returned. Christie's office received 800 emails in the hours after the governor's Boehner news conference, mostly positive.
Christie said he was just doing his job.
"It never struck me that what I should do is calibrate my language in order to be more political. With Boehner, I would have reacted differently if the speaker had picked up my phone calls Tuesday night and explained what he was doing. The fact that 66 days had already gone by with no assistance, all that stuff conspired to create the reaction that I gave."
The Associated Press