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Bloomberg lobbies for Sandy disaster aid

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Nov. 28. 2012) Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday lobbied lawmakers here for New York State's $42-billion disaster-aid package as the White House prepares a supplemental funding request for superstorm Sandy damage that's expected to be ready next week.

In an early stop on what's likely will be a long road to win federal money, Bloomberg said he had "a very good reception" in meetings with lawmakers, which included leaders of both parties in the House and Senate.

"Everyone I met with understands the severity of the damage, and the importance of helping," Bloomberg said.

But he said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) did not commit to approving additional federal funding for New York, New Jersey and other storm-damaged states without spending cuts to offset that aid.

That could be one of many hurdles in getting a supplemental funding bill through Congress, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a Capitol news conference with the mayor and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

"There is no doubt this is going to be a hard fight," he said.

"We have a Congress that is decidedly less friendly to disaster aid than any in 100 years," Schumer said. "We're in the middle of very strenuous negotiations over the fiscal cliff. And we know money is short in Washington just as it is in New York."

New York has asked for $32.8 billion in federal recovery aid and $9.1 billion in funds for future prevention. New Jersey Wednesday said it needs $29.4 billion in federal recovery aid and $7.4 billion in prevention funding.

Top officials in New York and New Jersey have banded together to urge the White House to propose a large supplemental funding request, which, Schumer said, "we expect to come early next week."

Schumer said he, Gillibrand and New Jersey Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both Democrats, met Tuesday with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, the president's point man on recovery, and Wednesday with the White House budget director.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement Wednesday they'll "work in partnership so that our needs are met and we receive as much federal support as possible." And 53 House members from both parties introduced a resolution to commit to full funding for storm recovery.


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