Congress approves $9.7 billion in Sandy flood aid

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WASHINGTON — The new Congress has passed a $9.7 billion bill to help pay flood insurance claims to homeowners, renters and businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The bill cleared the Senate following passage earlier Friday by the House. It replenishes the National Flood Insurance Program that was due to run out of money next week with some 115,000 Sandy-related claims as well as 5,000 from other floods unresolved.

The late October storm ravaged the coast from North Carolina to Maine, with the worst flooding occurring in New York City and its suburbs, Atlantic City, N.J., along the Connecticut coastline. Votes are planned later this month on another $51 billion aid package. The government already has spent more than $2 billion as part of the emergency response to the storm.

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