Obama Asks for $60.4B in Sandy Aid
Friday, December 07, 2012
The White House has proposed $60.4 billion in aid to states hit by Sandy. It's a figure that's less than the $82 billion in federal aid sought by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in the aftermath of the storm.
"Our nation has an obligation to assist those who suffered losses and who lack adequate resources to rebuild their lives," Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy director of Obama's budget office, wrote to congressional leaders on Friday. "At the same time, we are committed to ensuring federal resources are used responsibly and that the recovery effort is a shared undertaking."
The measure includes aid for homeowners, businesses and state and local governments.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday night that the request was the first good news the state has had in awhile.
"For New Yorkers who've had a lot of bad news, and wondering how do we put these pieces back together again, how do we rebuild homes and rebuild lives and rebuild communities, we're going to be OK," Cuomo said. "If we get this funding, this is going to be a significant asset for this state."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was also pleased by the request. In a joint statement the two governors thanked President Obama "for his steadfast commitment of support" and added they look forward to "continuing our partnership" in the recovery effort.
Senator Charles Schumer, who was with Cuomo, added that the request didn't cover all of the state's needs, but the White House knows that states will be coming back for additional funds. "This is not the only chapter in the book," he said. The senator noted that recovery aid in the aftermath came through in several supplements.
Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan is the president's point person on storm recovery. He said earlier this week that the White House didn't think Congress needed to pass a bill to cover the full estimate.
That's because he said some of those damages are already covered by other sources.
The request comes as Congress and the White House is trying to come to an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, and as nation's legislative body wraps up its session in a few weeks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said leaders have been realistic regarding the fiscal constraints facing the federal government. But now that the request has been made, he hopes Congress acts quickly.
"We need a full recovery package to be voted on in this session of Congress," he said in a statement. "Any delay will impede our recovery."
Schumer is hoping it can be done by the end of the year.