President Obama meets with NJ Gov. Christie on Sandy recovery effort

President Obama met with Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday morning to discuss recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy that ravaged New Jersey and other parts of the East Coast.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama — who has been in touch with Christie regularly since the storm made landfall in October — has been "very focused" on assisting New Jersey and New York in recovery efforts.

Asked about continued aid to the states, Carney said, "That request is still being worked on and still being developed."

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Carney said Obama is "incredibly concerned" about those who are still suffering in the storm's wake and said he has been "aggressive" to cut through red tape and act swiftly.

"I would point you to the substantial and fast effort that the president oversaw," Carney said when pressed about why some in the affected states are still without power.

Still, Carney acknowledged, "There's enormous suffering that continues."

The White House is formally expected to ask Congress to pass a huge Sandy supplemental spending bill in the lame-duck session. Christie has asked for $37 billion in damage assistance. New York has sought $42 billion.

Reports indicate the White House is considering only a $50 billion request total.

The bill will be an uphill battle coming in the middle of "fiscal cliff" talks, lawmakers and administration officials say. House Republicans have not said whether they will require new disaster funding to be offset by spending cuts. The White House wants no offsets.

Carney said Christie also met with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeff Zients and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Alyssa Mastromonaco to discuss storm recovery efforts. 

Christie visited Capitol Hill as well, conferring with New Jersey Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez in the early afternoon, and he was slated to meet with the Senate Appropriations Committee and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Obama and Christie last met days after the storm and the New Jersey governor praised the president for his help in recovery efforts. Christie was criticized by Republicans for his glowing reviews on the president's assistance days before the presidential election.