After being roundly criticized for dragging its legs, and even voting against legislation that would provide disaster relief after Hurricane Sandy, the House is expected to pass a bill today.
Besides providing funds to help victims rebuild, the bill actually takes positive steps to reform the way disaster aid is distributed.
The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) would "improve and streamline disaster assistance for Hurricane Sandy, and for other purposes" in several ways.
It would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to disburse disaster aid grants based on the estimated costs of damages, rather than as reimbursements for specific repairs.
That would bring disaster aid quicker to states and localities and give them more flexibility in how it’s spent.
A pilot program that’s proven to be effective in quickly removing debris would be made permanent. That program gave financial incentives to complete those projects on time.
And it would also allow FEMA to pay for limited repairs on homes when that’s less expensive than housing people in "FEMA trailers" until repairs are made.
The bill is co-sponsored by Rep Nick Rahall (D-WVA), Bill Shuster (R-PA), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
House Republicans scheduled it as a "suspension bill," which means they expect it to have broad support and be easily passed.
Learn more about the fiscal side of the Sandy cleanup: