News

House Republicans Refusing To Approve White House-Requested Sandy Aid

They Question How $60 Billion Will Be Spent; Tri-State Area Residents Furious
Damage from Sandy is seen in the borough of Beach Haven on Long Beach Island - Nov. 5, 2012 (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Damage from Sandy is seen in the borough of Beach Haven on Long Beach Island – Nov. 5, 2012 (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are putting out a strong message to Congress: don’t leave for the holidays until you decide on aid for states battered by Superstorm Sandy.

The House has refused to approve $60 billion in funding to help in recovery efforts, and homeowners have been left to rely on volunteers to rebuild their homes destroyed by the storm.

The Jersey Shore was nearly obliterated and without the money from the government, there’s no telling when rebuilding can begin there.

Several major tourist spots damaged in the storm, like Ellis Island, are also at the mercy of federal funding, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.

For the hurricane-ravaged residents of Staten Island who have been flooded out, dislocated and disposed it may be the final straw. Word came down Thursday that some house Republicans aren’t willing to ante up the storm aid dollars sought by the White House, but something far smaller.

“That’s disgusting to me. How is that possible? You walk through the streets, people are fending for their lives right now and it’s like a third world country. They’re going to take money away from that?” said Farid Kader of Bay Terrace.

“I want to ask the Congress to be really kind at this time because we are in tremendous pain and I don’t want to cry like everyone else here. We do need the money,” added Aiman Youssef of Midland Beach.

As an excuse to cut Sandy aid, House Republicans are pointing to a preliminary assessment by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that much of the $60 billion won’t be spent for four or five years and that some requests are of no “immediate need.”

“There is not a wish list. This is not money that was made up. This is actual money that is needed to rebuild New York, New Jersey and Connecticut,” Rep. Peter King said.

It will be up to Republican congressmen in the Tri-State Area like King of Long Island and Michael Grimm of Staten Island to stop the partisan bickering that seems to be going on.  King said it may take some private arm-twisting.

“I think a lot has to be done, quite frankly, behind closed doors to get this moving,” Rep. King said.

“There are a lot of questions on exactly how the money is to be spent and when it needs to be spent, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the House isn’t willing to pass a comprehensive package,” Rep. Grimm added.

But while the House dithers, the Senate hopes to pass a Sandy aid bill sometime next week. They said they hope that will put pressure on the House to do the right thing.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tried to get their message out to Congress in an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post: “This is not the time for partisanship or regional isolationism… Americans come together in times of crisis. Our states have stood with your communities when they suffered and faced devastation. Its time for Congress to stand with us.”

Meanwhile, another development that has New York residents scratching their heads is Con Edison saying it will offer customers a credit for lost service during Sandy.

But that credit will amount to just $3 for those living in Manhattan and $6 for those outside of Manhattan.

1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports

A Con Edison spokesman told 1010 WINS the company came to that amount based off of the “typical” customer charge of $15.76.

“If you do the math with the five-day typical outage in Manhattan and 10 days outside of Manhattan, you get to the $3 and $6 credits,” the spokesman said.

“That’s it? What are they going to give us a check for $6?” one customer chuckled while speaking to 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer.

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