New York-area lawmakers urge Congress to support Sandy victims

“We are incredibly grateful for the swift, coordinated response by the President, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state and local governments.  However, the recovery from this terrible tragedy will prove to be a lengthy and costly task,” the letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) states.

“We understand FEMA may have the resources it needs at this time, but as the full brunt of Hurricane Sandy is quantified, Congress must stand ready to provide the aid and assistance to the people and communities most devastated by this storm,” it adds.

The FEMA disaster relief fund was given $7.1 billion at the beginning of October when the fiscal year began, and funding can increase by some $5 billion without offsets under the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal. House Republican appropriations aides say that it is too early to provide more funding, before a complete assessment of the damage is done. 

Senate Appropriations Committee cardinal Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is already urging a supplemental bill to fund transportation, crop and housing needs not covered by FEMA’s budget.

The letter was signed by 44 members: Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), John Larson (D-Conn.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), Jon Runyan (D-N.J.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), Steven Rothman (D-N.J.), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Rush Holt (R-N.J.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Tim Bishop (D-N.J.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Gary Ackerman  (D-N.Y.), Gregory Meeks  (D-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Robert Turner (R-N.Y.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), José Serrano (D-N.Y.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).

This story was updated at 1:10 p.m.