Entries in Superstorm (4)


House to Vote on Delayed Superstorm Sandy Relief

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives is poised to vote on Tuesday to provide about $50 billion of additional relief for the region impacted by Superstorm Sandy last fall.

The base bill, known as the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Act, includes about $17 billion to fund immediate and critical needs for Sandy victims and their communities.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., has offered an amendment that would provide an additional $33 billion for disaster relief, bringing the total closer to the Obama administration’s emergency supplemental request, which called for $60.4 billion in total relief.

This amendment, which is opposed by many hard-line conservatives, includes funding for longer-term recovery efforts and infrastructure improvements intended to help prevent damage caused by future disasters.

Nearly 100 additional amendments were offered to cut or offset money included in the underlying bill and Frelinghuysen amendment, including one to strike $133 million for improved weather forecasting equipment and satellites.

“While my heart goes out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, it is unacceptable for Congress to use this disaster as a justification for passing a bill chock-full of pork barrel spending,” Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., wrote in a statement Monday afternoon.  “My amendments to the bill simply and reasonably eliminate funding for any pet projects that are unrelated to emergencies brought on by Hurricane Sandy.”

The House Rules committee determined that most of the 94 amendments were not made in order, but 13 amendments survived and will face a vote on Tuesday as well.

Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York, said she is worried that amending the legislation could complicate its passage in the Senate, which voted to approve the president’s request on Dec. 28.  The Senate-passed bill expired after the House refused to consider the legislation before the 112th session of Congress ended earlier this month.

Lowey said she was “deeply concerned” that too many changes to the underlying legislation would “constitute filibuster by amendment, or any number of small reduction amendments making for death by a thousand cuts.”

“While there are some provisions I would modify if I could, my first concern is seeing this legislation promptly enacted,” Lowey stated.

Congress has already approved $9.7 billion for flood insurance on Jan. 4.  The House also passed a separate bill without opposition on Monday evening, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, to speed up and streamline federal disaster recovery programs.

After the House voted on the “fiscal cliff” deal on Jan. 1, House Speaker John Boehner decided not to vote on any relief during the 112th Congress.  Republicans and Democrats from the region revolted until Boehner held a private meeting with angry Republican members, during which he promised to make Sandy relief a priority in the 113th Congress.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chris Christie Says He’d Like Congress to Listen

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was cautiously optimistic on Wednesday morning that Congress will be able to pass a federal relief aid for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

“I met with the congressional delegation yesterday, I’m hopeful,” he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.  “But at the end of the day, it’s never done ’till it’s done. ...It’s never done ’till it’s done but I’m going to keep the pressure on.”

Christie, who had particularly pointed criticism at House Republicans after the relief bill was held up in the lower chamber, said that Sandy was “above politics,” and he hopes that both parties can learn to rise above, and learn to listen.

“Sandy is and was above politics.  There are certain things that happen in our lives that have to be above politics and both parties should rise above, as hard as that is for them sometimes,” he said.  “I’d like them to learn to listen.  Listen to people in my state, listen to the people in the state of New York.  They’re suffering, they’re hurting, and they don’t understand why they’ve had to wait seven times longer than the victims of Katrina to get any federal aid.”

Christie also discussed the question of gun control in the wake of the tragedy last month in Newtown, Conn., saying that an assault weapons ban has to be part of a larger conversation.

“We have one here,” he said.  “I think that’s got to be part of the entire conversation.  But if you stop there…You’re short changing the problem.”

The governor left the door open on his 2016 plans, saying his political focus right now is on his re-election campaign in New Jersey.

“You know, anybody who tries to plan four years from now, George, you know, is crazy. The fact of the matter is I’m going to follow the advice my mother gave me, which is to do the job that you have right now as well as you can do it and the future will take care of itself,” Christie said.  “What I want to do now is be the governor of New Jersey, as I said, for the last three years, I’d like to do it for the next four.”

However, Christie said he believes he will be more prepared to run in 2016 than he was in 2012.

“I will be more ready than I was in 2012 because I will have done my job for longer and hopefully gotten better,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chris Christie Foe Claims Governor ‘Prayed’ for Superstorm Sandy

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hours before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was scheduled to give his state of the state address Tuesday afternoon, a political opponent claimed the tough-talking governor “prayed and got lucky” that superstorm Sandy slammed into the Garden State and drove attention away from the New Jersey economy.

In a news conference Monday, Democratic State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who has talked about taking Christie on in the 2013 gubernatorial race, referred to the state’s high unemployment rate and Christie’s jobs record while making the Sandy dig.

“His jobs package is a hurricane. I guess he prayed a lot and got lucky that a storm came,” said Sweeney, according to

Sweeney then immediately followed up the attack, saying, “I shouldn’t say that. I apologize for saying that.”

Christie’s office responded to Sweeney’s attack by saying, “It was shocking to hear Sen. Sweeney reduce Hurricane Sandy and its devastation to a heartless partisan attack.”

“Ask the thousands of New Jerseyans whose homes or businesses were destroyed or damaged if they view Hurricane Sandy as a partisan political issue, or if this is what they want to hear from their leaders at this time of recovery as we fight for disaster aid in Washington,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said in a statement. “No one ‘prayed’ for what New Jersey has endured.”

Drewniak added that Sweeney’s comment was “politics at its worst,” and that Sweeney should be “ashamed” and apologize to the state.

Last week, Christie, who is considered a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, drew attention for blasting members of his own party for abandoning a $60 billion relief bill for Sandy victims.

Sweeney’s “prebuttal” to Christie’s address this afternoon immediately drew attacks from Republicans around the state and took away from the main focus of the news conference, which was to  draw attention to the state’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate, the fourth highest in the nation.

Sweeney said he has seriously considered jumping into the Democratic primary to challenge Christie. State Sen. Barbara Buono, who has been in state government for 20 years, has already announced her intention to run. There had been speculation that Newark Mayor Cory Booker would also jump into the race, but Booker  announced a run for U.S. Senate instead. Last week, Christie’s campaign announced it had hauled in more than $2 million in a 36-day period since the governor announced a run for re-election.

Sweeney did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Seeks $60.4 Billion for Sandy Recovery

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration has formally asked Congress for $60.4 billion in additional federal emergency aid for states hit by superstorm Sandy.

That is above the $50 billion figure floated earlier in the week as a possible request, but still below the amount sought by many states still reeling from the devastation.

“Today’s agreement … will enable our states to recover, repair and rebuild better and stronger than before,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a joint statement. Both men visited Washington this week to ask for the funds.

The request was made Friday in a letter from OMB director Jeff Zeints to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The money, if approved, will be directed toward rebuilding homes and public infrastructure in affected communities.

“Our nation has an obligation to assist those who suffered losses and who lack adequate resources to rebuild their lives. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring Federal resources are used responsibly and that the recovery effort is a shared undertaking,” wrote Zients.

“Private insurers must fulfill their commitment to the region; public assistance must be targeted for public benefit; resources must be directed to those in greatest need; and impacted States and localities must contribute, as appropriate, to the costs of rebuilding,” he said.

Zients wrote that the administration believes Sandy is on track to be the second or third most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Read the full letter and breakdown of funds by federal agency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio