Obama wants $60 million in Sandy relief; US Rep. Grimm says ‘That’s more like it’

December 10, 2012 Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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A Republican lawmaker who had been highly critical of Barack Obama amid reports last week that the president planned to request between $45 and $50 billion from congress for post-Sandy recovery work in the tri-state area, expressed relief when the figure turned out to be much higher.

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Brooklyn-Staten Island) said he was pleased when the president officially requested $60.4 billion in relief funds on Dec. 7. The request came in the form of a letter from Obama to congress, according to CNN.com.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news,” Grimm said on the day the letter arrived on Capitol Hill. “With the bulk of the funding going to New York, this number will give us the flexibility to meet some of our greatest recovery needs,” he said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo played an important leadership role in advocating for the needs of the hurricane-stricken citizens of the state, according to Grimm, offering some bipartisan praise for the Democratic governor. “I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in getting us over this first hurdle,” the congressman said.

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“The fate of the package now lies in the hands of congress, and I will continue to lead the charge to gain Republican support in the House,” Grimm said.

Back on Dec. 5, when reports were circulating that Obama planned to ask for $50 billion or even less, Grimm went on the offensive, saying that the request “certainly falls short of our needs.”

The Staten Island end of Grimm bi-borough congressional district sustained massive damage due to Hurricane Sandy. Many of his constituents are still homeless, more than a month after the storm hit, he said.

In the wake of President Obama’s funding request, Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a joint statement.

“During the past days and weeks, we have been working very closely with the President, administration officials and our respective congressional delegations to craft a supplemental appropriations request that meets the critical needs facing our states in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Today’s agreement on the Administration’s request to congress would authorize more than $60 billion in funding that will enable our states to recover, repair, and rebuild better and stronger than before,” the statement read.

“This package also includes funding to invest in essential mitigation and prevention efforts that will better protect our region against the devastating impacts of future superstorms. We thank President Obama for his steadfast commitment of support and look forward to continuing our partnership in the recovery effort,” the governors stated.

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