New York Officials Pitch for Federal Sandy Aid

2:17 PM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
e tunnel under West Street at the Battery in NYC is completely flooded to the top. Photo by Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY staff
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By BRIAN TUMULTY
Gannett Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are requesting additional federal money to help finance repairs for damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Bloomberg sent a letter Monday to members of the New York congressional delegation estimating that $9.8 billion of the $19 billion in public and private losses will not be covered by private insurers or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Cuomo, who has estimated statewide losses at more than $30 billion, met this morning in his Manhattan office with several members of the congressional delegation, including Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to discuss additional federal financial assistance.

Cuomo's request comes as Congress reconvenes this week for a lame-duck session in which lawmakers are negotiating how to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect Jan. 1.

Federal aid of the magnitude requested by Cuomo would require Congress to pass a supplemental spending bill. Initial requests for supplemental spending bills, whether for disaster aid or overseas military operations, originate from White House.

Bloomberg's letter notes that Congress "has long funded the response and recovery from natural disasters in supplemental appropriations.''
"In the past decade Congress has authorized supplemental appropriations after hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, including $120 billion worth of aid in several bills passed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,'' Bloomberg wrote.

A Senate committee has scheduled a Thursday hearing on the potential cost of repairing the damage caused by Sandy.

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