December 13, 2012
(AP) The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Thursday issued a powerful plea to Congress: Don't leave for the holidays until you decide on aid for states battered by Superstorm Sandy.
Govs. Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo and Dannel Malloy say no region or state should have stand have to alone after a disaster. They say Congress hasn't acted in seven weeks following Sandy, taking longer to provide aid than in previous disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
Storms and disasters lay waste to communities and deliver damage far beyond the resources and capacity of any single state to recover on its own, wrote Cuomo and Malloy, both Democrats, and Christie, a Republican. This is why Congress has always come to the assistance of Americans facing a recovery effort of this scale.
The governors made their case in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
Americans come together in times of crisis, they wrote. Our states have stood with your communities when they suffered and faced devastation. It's time for Congress to stand with us.
President Barack Obama a week ago proposed $60.4 billion for the states, about three-quarters of what they requested.
Now it's in the hands of Congress, which is already in a budget battle to cut spending by Jan. 1.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is pushing the aid request in the Republican House and told The Associated Press in an interview that the high-stakes budget negotiations already under way when Sandy hit made the requests more challenging.
I'm still reasonably confident we can do this, but it is a concern, King said. But the governors raise a good wake-up call.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the aid package should be a bipartisan priority.
Before we leave this year, we must act to provide emergency disaster aid to fund the response to Superstorm Sandy, Schumer said at a news conference of Senate leaders Thursday, a day after a televised fundraising concert. Last night, 2 billion people around the world tuned into a benefit concert to help raise money for the Sandy relief efforts.
The governors said their states' legislators had supported aid after previous disasters.
They did so in the spirit of compassion, recognizing that in times of crisis no region, state or single American should have to stand alone or be left to fend for themselves, they wrote.