There are new concerns the Republican-controlled House of Representatives could significantly reduce the Hurricane Sandy relief aid package being sought by the Obama administration, as the GOP is reportedly balking over a lack of detail over how the money would be spent. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
As far as the Obama administration and the U.S Senate is concerned the Hurricane Sandy relief aid package is $60.4 billion. But that figure has not been said aloud by GOP House leaders, and now, anonymous Republican staffers are saying in published reports that the House will actually be considering a much smaller number when their version of the bill is released.
"My hope, we get the monies that we need, and we're certainly going to work very hard to try to convince them that these expenses were incurred and justified, and hopefully we will," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The $60 billion would be divided between New York and New Jersey, with a smaller portion going to Connecticut. The money will be used for a disaster relief fund, Army Corps of Engineers work, and a small amount to replace lost emergency vehicles. But Republicans have been critical that there is not enough detail provided over how the money will be spent.
"We need all the help we can get from the senators, both Republican and Democrat, to see that we do this together as one Congress," said Rep. Charles Rangel.
In an op-ed column that appeared in Thursday's Washington Post, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo teamed up with Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut to write, "The three of us have reached across the aisle and across our borders to work together during this crisis. Congress must do the same and not allow this much-needed aid to fall into the ideological divide."
Members of New York and New Jersey's congressional delegations have been advocating for a quick vote on the aid package.
"The silver lining from all the disasters that we've experienced over the years is that it has given a blueprint to the Congress about how we ought to appropriately address the issues of disaster," said Rep. Joe Crowley.
Local leaders had hoped for a vote on the supplemental aid package before December 31, while the issue is still fresh in people's minds. Now, there is talk it could be pushed into January. It all depends on how far apart the two parties are on the numbers.