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Officials: Trump to seek pullback of $107M in Sandy funds

The funding was initially set aside for “emergency watershed” programs after the devastating 2012 storm, but sat untouched for years.

President Donald Trump, seen in Cleveland, Ohio, on

President Donald Trump, seen in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 5, is expected to request that Congress pull back Sandy funding as part of a broader request to eliminate $15 billion in federal spending. Credit: AP / Manuel Balce Ceneta

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will propose rescinding $107 million in federal funding earmarked for superstorm Sandy watershed restoration projects, White House officials said Monday.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday is expected to request that Congress pull back the funding, as part of a broader “rescission” request for lawmakers to eliminate $15 billion in previously approved federal spending, said a senior administration official in a Monday phone briefing with reporters.

The official said the superstorm Sandy funds were initially set aside for “emergency watershed” programs after the devastating 2012 storm that ravaged the tristate area, but said the money sat untouched for years, as localities eligible for the funding through a matching grant program did not produce their share of local dollars.

“This is money that hasn’t been spent from Hurricane Sandy specifically because the local project sponsors could not pay their local share to get their money out the door; it’s not going to be spent,” the official said.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget did not immediately return an email Monday night seeking specifics on the $107 million, including if any projects on Long Island stood to receive money.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) urged House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations committee, to “reject any attempts to rescind funds allocated for Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.”

“It would be morally wrong to renege on the commitments made to New York and the rest of the Northeast by rescinding funding for ongoing work to continue rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy,” King said in a letter he sent to the Republican lawmakers Monday evening.

Trump’s rescission request is aimed at reducing the amount of government funds that have sat idle for years. The senior administration official said other programs included in the rescission request include $252 million set aside for the United States’ response to the Ebola outbreak and $15 million in a business development grant program.

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