Tales from Two Senators on Sandy

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Congress is taking its first hard look at the damage from Sandy amid appeals for tens of billions of dollars in additional disaster assistance to rebuild from one of the most destructive storms ever to hit the Northeast.

Testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, New York Senator Chuck Schumer said more than 300,000 homes were seriously damaged from New York City to the eastern tip of Long Island. And New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez called Sandy the largest mass transit disaster in the nation’s history.

New Jersey is requesting $37 billion in federal disaster aid. New York is requesting $42 billion. Connecticut is asking for $3.5 billion.

The hearing came as Congress faces tight budget constraints, and movement on resolving the so-called fiscal cliff by the end of the year.