Cuomo: “New York will get the majority of it.”
— Capital Tonight (@CapitalTonight) December 7, 2012
Several days after hurricane Sandy slammed into the tri-state area, President Obama toured the devastated shore with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and promised to deliver support. Last Friday, six weeks after the storm, the White House sent a $60 billion supplemental budget request to Capitol Hill for recovery funds. The request is likely to get tangled up in ongoing budget and debt-limit wrangling and intra-state politics. New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo is already showing some sharp elbows, as seen in the tweet above from his press conference last Friday with New York’s congressional delegation. Take that Chris Christie.
There seems to be a semi-resigned attitude among the senators from the affected states. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said in a statement:
“This is going to be a tough fight in the Congress given the fiscal cliff, and some members have not been friendly to disaster relief,” they added.
Not too friendly, the senators say? Here is what The Hill is reporting:
[House] Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the needs of the victims have to be balanced with fiscal prudence. “It is also our responsibility during these tight-budget times to make sure that the victims of this storm are getting the most of every single recovery dollar, and to ensure that disaster funds are timed and targeted in the most efficient and appropriate manner,” he said.
This sounds like Rogers intends to take a scalpel to the Sandy funding request. Paging through the request, one sees what looks like sweetheart projects such as the $23 million in cost-share assistance to landowners for tree plantings. Disaster funds are appropriated through various federal agencies. Republicans may want to scrutinize large and small items in the request.