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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Updated -- New Yorkers to HUD: Don't give away Sandy aid. HUD: We already have

Asked about the New Yorkers' plea, HUD noted that it already had granted $1 billion of the Sandy aid money to other states -- for tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., and mudslides in Colorado, for example. And no lawmakers had taken issue.

The Sandy aid package, after sequestration, included $15.2 billion in community development block grant funds. Of that amount, $10.5 billion has gone to the Sandy damaged region including New York and $1 billion elsewhere. That leaves $3.5 billion, HUD said.

But HUD has not formally decided how it will allocate that money.

"Our No. 1 priority is to continue working with state and local officials to address the remaining unmet needs of those affected by natural disasters. In regards to any disaster funding, no determination has been made on programming or allocations of remaining funds," said HUD spokesman Patrick N. Rodenbush in an emailed statement.


Rep. Peter King said he and other New Yorkers today urged federal officials to use all of the $3.6 billion left in community grant money from the superstorm Sandy aid package for New York and New Jersey, not for other states.

Up to $2 billion of that money could be used in a nationwide competition among the 48 states that had disaster declarations from 2011 through 2013 under a proposal being considered by HUD officials, according to King and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

King (R-Seaford) said he and Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) -- who both represent parts of Long Island -- and New York City Democratic Reps. Jose Serrano and Yvette Clarke made the pitch to HUD in a Washington meeting today. A Schumer representative was there as well.

"We made clear we thought all the money should be spent in New York and New Jersey," King said, saying there is $1 billion in unmet needs on just housing in the two states hit hardest by superstorm Sandy in 2012.

King said the New Yorkers argued that superstorm Sandy is the only storm, the only disaster, mentioned in the Sandy aid package passed last year. "To me, the interpretation is that if there is any money left over it can go to other disasters," he said. And King said there is nothing in the Sandy aid package that makes it mandatory for HUD to open up the funds for other states.

Schumer and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) made the same arguments in a news conference in New York on Sunday.

HUD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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