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Some Sandy Aid On Way, But Larger Request Remains in Hands of Congress

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo speaks with reporters after a meeting with Appropriations Committee Chairman and VicePresident Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Thad Cochran. (Courtesy of the Governor's Office)

The first federal funds for New York City's Sandy recovery have been approved and are on the way to the tri-state area, but there was no news about the larger amount, $80 billion, that area lawmakers seek for post-Sandy recovery. Instead, lawmakers started poking holes in the full-court press from New Jersey and New York officials.

Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky, the chairman of the House Appropriations committee, floated the idea of a smaller emergency supplemental bill first — to cover FEMA payments for the recovery — then something bigger later on.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have traveled to the capitol to lobby lawmakers, but the key to getting funding passed quickly may rely on the makeup of the committees. The Appropriations committees in the House and Senate will be key in any supplemental spending for federal Sandy aid. While Congresswoman Nita Lowey was just elected ranking Democrat on House Appropriations, there is no Republican New Yorker on that committee, and no New Yorker sits on the Appropriations committee on the Senate side. New Jersey does a bit better. Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen sits on the House Appropriations Committee and Senator Frank Lautenberg is on the Senate committee.

New York and New Jersey governors have pledged to work together, but a breakdown in communications may have already begun. Cuomo said Gov. Chris Christie would be heading down to Washington on Thursday. Christie’s office wouldn't confirm the trip and members of the New Jersey delegation said they hadn't gotten word either about a visit.

The White House is expected to give Congress a proposal for federal aid for Sandy recovery, this week.

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