Thursday 24 April 2014

Mayor appeals for Sandy aid package

American flags are displayed on flood-damaged homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens (AP)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed to congressional leaders for quick action on providing tens of billions of dollars in new federal aid to help his city and state and others recover from Superstorm Sandy but was told it might be some time before it is forthcoming - and it likely will not be all at once.

Mr Bloomberg met with more than a half-dozen politicians, including several who chair or sit on committees controlling the government's purse strings, as well and both parties' leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate.

"Hurricane recovery is not a partisan issue," he told reporters at a news conference in between the meetings.

"We have to bring together both sides in Washington."

New York state alone is seeking 42 billion US dollars in additional federal aid.

New Jersey is seeking federal aid to cover most of the nearly 37 billion US dollars cost for recovery and rebuilding.

So far about two billion US dollars in federal funds - about half for direct assistance to individuals - have been provided to the two most heavily damaged states and nine others in the storm's path.

There is about five billion US dollars left in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund, but last year's budget agreement permits President Barack Obama to seek another 5.4 billion US dollars without hitting a ceiling on spending.

Press Association

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