It's $9.7 billion down and $51 billion to go to fund the recovery from superstorm Sandy, but the first step was almost certainly the easiest. The House and Senate approved $9.7 billion in funding on Friday for the National Flood Insurance Program, which is running out of money to pay claims of policy holders. But this, coming as it did at the end of a week in which House Speaker John Boehner pulled Sandy relief funding from the floor, looks like more progress than it is. The federal government has no choice but to pay out on insurance policies it had already underwritten. More worrisome is the remaining $51 billion, which is to be voted on Jan. 15, reportedly in two chunks. That aid could engender real resistance, and if it does it will be up to our local representatives to pull out all the stops, as they did this past week, to bring the money home.