NJ Gets Help Pay For Damages Ida Caused In Bill Keeping Federal Government Open

Legislation enacted just hours before the federal government had to shut down provides aid to New Jersey and other states hard hit by Hurricane Ida and cancels Federal Emergency Management Agency loans to communities severely affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The bill was passed by both houses of Congress before current funding ran out at midnight. Senate Republicans blocked a previous spending bill that also extended the debt limit until December 2022, but acquiesced in the legislation once that provision was removed.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., Was one of 34 House Republicans to support the bill. All 220 House Democrats voted yes, including New Jersey’s 10. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd Dist., And 174 other House Republicans voted against keeping government open and against providing billions of dollars in storm aid.

The bill provides $ 28.6 billion for disaster relief from Ida and other recent storms, wildfires and other national disasters, as well as $ 6.3 billion to support Afghan refugees , thousands of whom are now temporarily housed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Bill makes New Jersey, hit by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, and other states eligible for funding for construction projects to reduce future flood risk, low-rate disaster loans of interest to businesses, nonprofits and residents, as well as grants to state and local governments for emergency management.

The legislation also forgives the remaining $ 30.2 million in community disaster loans that the Federal Emergency Management Agency granted to 21 New Jersey municipalities to help them recover from Hurricane Sandy.

“Cities and towns in New Jersey are still struggling to rebuild after the devastating effects of Storm Sandy almost nine years after hitting New Jersey,” said Representative Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist.

And it is extending the national flood insurance program, which is due to expire on Thursday.

The debt limit is due to be raised this month to cover much of the $ 8 trillion in deficit spending, including the $ 1.9 trillion tax bill, which Republicans voted for under Donald Trump, when ‘they have also raised the ceiling three times.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez called for a postponement of FEMA’s new rating system to set flood insurance premiums that are expected to go into effect Friday for new policies and April 1, 2022, for policies. existing.

The 2.0 risk rating would increase premiums by 79% of existing New Jersey policyholders, while the remaining 21% would pay less.

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Jonathan D. Salant can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on @JDSalant.

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