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N.J. Sandy Rebuilding Program Labeled ‘Colossal Failure,’ ‘Disaster’ By Some Pols

Rescue workers gather around a house wrecked by Superstorm Sandy on October 31, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Rescue workers gather around a house wrecked by Superstorm Sandy on October 31, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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PERTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jersey’s Senate president says the Christie administration’s handling of Superstorm Sandy aid has been “a colossal failure.”

Steve Sweeney held an event Wednesday in Perth Amboy to push for his proposed Sandy Bill Of Rights.

The bill is designed to better inform and interact with victims of the Oct. 2012 storm.

“Making it in writing that you don’t have to have a lawyer when you get a notice,” Sweeney told WCBS 880′s Jim Smith.

His comments came hours after the federal government said it won’t drop rules that many Sandy victims say are among the biggest impediments to rebuilding more quickly.

Sweeney has laid blame on the Christie administration for hiring and then recently firing the company charged with handling the state-administered housing recovery program, Smith reported.

The Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, Mitigation grant program was started with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Rep. Frank Pallone said the mismanagement only validates the critics on Capitol Hill who made the Garden State fight just to get the federal money.

“They were concerned that the program wasn’t gonna be administered well and so I want to make sure that the program is administered well and so far, it’s been a disaster,” the congressman told Smith.

Pallone added frustration is growing among Sandy victims who need relief.

New Jersey officials asked HUD to waive requirements that people applying for a housing recovery initiative stop work on their homes when they apply. Work done afterward isn’t eligible for reimbursement.

In a letter obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, HUD rejected the request.

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