The US House and Senate has passed a bill approving more than $9 billion in aid for regions impacted by superstorm Sandy, the first of two Sandy relief measures making their way through Congress between now and the end of the month. The bill, which will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay out claims to those who held federal flood insurance, was approved in the House on a 354 to 67 vote. After the House action, the Senate also adopted the bill in a quick unanimous voice vote, sending it to US President Barack Obama. On January 15, the first full day of legislative business on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner is expected to bring up a vote for additional Sandy relief measures totaling the remaining $51 billion requested by US President Barack Obama. The House was expected to vote on a Sandy relief package earlier this week, before the close of the 112th Congress. But after the House passed a Democrat-crafted deal to avert the so-called \"fiscal cliff\" -- a deal many Republicans disliked due to a lack of spending cuts and an increase in tax rates -- Boehner pulled the Sandy legislation at the last minute. His decision was met with outrage on both sides of the aisle, and Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lashed out at the speaker in a press conference the following day. Several House Republicans also threatened to vote against Boehner\'s bid to be re-elected Speaker of the House. In light of the backlash, Boehner quickly scheduled the $9.7 billion flood insurance package for today and pledged to conduct a vote on the remaining funds on January 15. This first portion of Sandy aid was expected to pass, though there were objections among conservative Republicans. The Club for Growth sent out a press release urging House members to vote \"no\" on the bill, arguing that \"Congress should not allow the federal government to be involved in the flood insurance industry in the first place, let alone expand the national flood insurance program\'s authority.\" Republican Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., also expressed his opposition to the legislation, citing general objections to the national flood insurance program as well as a desire for the $9.7 billion to be offset by reductions elsewhere. Democrats fiercely defended the legislation, and continued to blast Republicans for stalling on the original vote.