FEMA: Flood money will run out without Congressional action

Ahead of a House vote on Hurricane Sandy relief funding, the agency warns that its insurance money is running low

Topics: John Boehner, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, House Republicans, Michael Grimm, Peter King,

After pressure from East Coast Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner will hold a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief funding on Friday. According to FEMA, the vote will be just in time.

On Thursday, FEMA said that barring congressional action to raise the agency’s borrowing limit, ”funds available to pay claims will be exhausted sometime around the week of January 7, 2013.”

Reuters reports:

The FEMA program is essentially the only U.S. flood insurer for residences. It has a $20.8 billion ceiling for borrowing authority.

FEMA estimated Sandy-related flood losses of $6 billion to $12 billion in November, far beyond its cash and $3 billion in untapped borrowing authority.

Friday’s vote will be on a $9.7 billion spending package for the National Flood Insurance Program, with another vote scheduled for January 15 on the other $51 billion of the Senate’s Hurricane Sandy package.



If Friday’s portion of the bill passes, the Washington Post reports, the Senate will hold a vote on the same package later in the day.

Earlier in the week, Republican Reps. Michael Grimm and Peter King, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lambasted Boehner for adjourning the House without a vote on the relief funding. King and Grimm backed off once Boehner promised them a vote later in the week.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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