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GOP Pushes Back On Future Storm Funds; MTA Officials Testify In DC

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TWC News: GOP Pushes Back On Future Storm Funds; MTA Officials Testify In DC
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Senate Republicans are balking at the president's $60 billion request for Sandy relief, and are offering their own plan at less than half the value.

GOP lawmakers have proposed a $24 billion package.

They say it's enough to pay for essential recovery efforts through the spring, but does not include $13 billion Democrats want for future storm protection.

Republicans complain the current Democratic bill is packed with money for projects unrelated to Sandy.

House Republicans have already suggested sending a limited amount of money, and consider more after assessing the damage later.

More than $2 billion in federal funds has already been spent on relief efforts.

In Breezy Point, Queens where some residents still have no electricity, heat or hot water, news of the bickering was not well received.

"This is [expletive] what they did, it's terrible what they did. It's absolutely ridiculous," said one Breezy Point resident.

Other residents say after Sandy, everyone should be thinking ahead.

"There's a lot of talk about future storms and we've got our heads in the sand if we think it won't happen again," said Breezy Point resident Jean Hammel.

Down the street, resident Jim Thompson said federal money could help homeowners get repairs done more quickly. He added there are times government needs to spend money and that this is one of them.

"So many people are displaced. Everyone's all over the place. I mean, this community right here is a community of 2,700 homes, and there's 10 percent of those living here, maybe not even, five percent are back in their homes. It's two months after the storm. We need to get back to some kind of normalcy," Thompson said.

Meanwhile, New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast was on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify about the agency's need for relief funds in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Speaking before the Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee, Prendergast explained why the city needs a commitment from Congress now.

"We're simply not able to shoulder this incredible burden on our own and we can't undertake these financing efforts without knowing what congress plans to do to support us. A federal commitment is needed to ensure we can rebuild and build back stronger," Prendergast said.

The transit president also said the agency needs $5 billion to cover immediate repairs and billions more to protect the transportation system from future flooding events.

Meantime, the New York City Housing Authority has announced it will begin providing $5.6 million in rent abatements in January 2013 to residents impacted by the October storm.

The agency says 35,132 families will be receiving rent credits that apply to any number of days that they were without essential services including power, heat, hot water or elevators due to the storm. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP