Schumer: Intense Lobbying Effort for Sandy Aid

New York officials are staging an intense lobbying effort in Washington to make sure the money is approved before year's end

By Verena Dobnik
|  Sunday, Dec 2, 2012  |  Updated 3:44 PM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Schumer: Intense Lobbying Effort for Sandy Aid

advertisement

New York expects to get tens of billions of dollars in federal disaster aid to cover damages from Sandy, Sen. Charles Schumer announced Sunday.

However, the Democrat told a news conference in his Manhattan office that it's not a done deal.

"The number must be commensurate with the huge amount of damage New York has suffered," Schumer said. "We're fighting to get as much as we can now."

New York's senior senator said he and other New York officials including fellow Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are making an intense lobbying effort in Washington to get the money approved before year's end.

The senator acknowledged that the approaching fiscal cliff "makes the job harder," but added, "I am hopeful."

Under discussion are supplemental federal funds for New York approaching $42 billion. About one-fourth of that would go toward better protecting vulnerable seaside areas — by building structures such as jetties against storm surges in harbors or along shorelines.

The federal money would cover destroyed homes, transit systems, hospitals and small businesses, the senator said. More than 300,000 homes had "serious damage," he said.

President Barack Obama must submit the additional funding request to Congress.

Schumer said he and other officials from New York and New Jersey — which was as hard hit as New York — have participated in discussions with the White House, the Office of Management and Budget and Shaun Donovan, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Schumer said changes in legislation may be needed to match the emergency needs.

For instance, FEMA may provide up to $31,900 for home repair. Then the homeowner may apply for a Small Business Administration disaster loan for additional repairs. But that could prove to be too little money to rebuild, the senator said.

In addition, many people living in neighborhoods near the water who didn't have flood insurance are not covered.

And four New York City hospitals whose beds are now empty and may not be fully functional for months could be in economic danger "if they don't get some kind of help," Schumer said.

In addition, some small businesses may "go under" unless they are offered loans with interest rates lower than government ones that come with interest rates as high as 6 percent.

"The changes have to come from the White House," the senator said.

He said he expects more progress in the coming week, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visiting Washington on Monday.

Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anywhere, anytimeiPhone/iPad App | SMS AlertsTwitter | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | RSS

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Follow us on Instagram!
We post photos taken by our news... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out