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N.Y. governor calls on Washington to provide Sandy relief funds

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 9:00am

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Washington on Monday, telling White House officials and members of Congress that his state needs billions of dollars in federal assistance to rebuild and repair after Superstorm Sandy.

Cuomo met separately with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and officials from the budget office, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Appearing at a news conference with members of New York's congressional delegation, he sounded encouraged by the reaction he said he received.

"If you've walked the streets and you've talked to homeowners and small business owners, you know how desperate this situation is," he said. "And this is no time for politics."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said last week the latest estimates of Sandy-related storm costs in his state were $36.8 billion, while Cuomo told reporters the total cost in his state was $41 billion.

EQECAT, a disaster modeling firm, estimated the total damage from the storm at $30 billion to $50 billion. It calculated insured losses at $10 billion to $20 billion.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat, said he reminded his fellow legislators that when disasters struck other parts of the United States, "New York was there."

"And now we need you," he said. "And our colleagues are reminded that if they are not fair to New York, New Jersey and the Northeast, if disaster hits their area the next time and they had set a precedent that there need to be (budget) offsets or they cut the amount of money that we get in half or a quarter, that that could boomerang on them."

Cuomo hopes Congress can pass a supplemental resolution by time it breaks for the holidays on December 15.

Christie, he said, will come to Washington to make his pitch for funds on Thursday, Cuomo said.

A statement on Christie's website said: "(New Jersey and New York) represent a combined regional and national economic powerhouse with intersecting and overlapping interests in terms of our local economies, U.S. and world financial markets, transit and highway infrastructure and tourism.

These economic and geographic factors motivate us and our congressional delegations to make a mutual, non-partisan commitment to bringing the appropriate federal aid back to our states as expeditiously as possible."

Sandy slammed ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey, on October 29 after forming in the Caribbean and sweeping northward, killing a total of 182 people from Haiti to Canada.
 

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