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Rep. Meeks hopes for 'unified voice' on federal aid for Sandy

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), the Queens congressman who saw areas of his district badly battered by Hurricane Sandy, said Sunday that he hopes for a bipartisan "unified voice" as Congress weighs aid and grants for storm recovery.

"This is not a Democrat or Republican issue," Meeks said during an appearance on "Meet the Press." "This is an American issue. We come together and make sure that our citizens survive. I think you'll see us go in with a unified voice trying to say that we have to have the funds appropriated that are necessary to help people to get back on their feet."

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Meeks said that his work with Republican congressmen like Reps. Michael Grimm (N.Y.) and Pete King (N.Y.), along with efforts between Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, were emblematic of the across-the-aisle approach.

"We can try to come together and speak with one voice," Meeks said. "I think that is important, and I think that we can do that in a bipartisan manner, because all of us have been affected."

Meeks also warned that the situation in many parts of the area remained dire.

"For sure, people are still hurting," Meeks said. "Some still don't have gas, so they can't cook in their apartment. Some still do not have heat. We don't want them to be in their apartments and homes as it gets cold."

But the New York lawmaker said he was inspired by communal gatherings over Thanksgiving, as neighbors helped others in need.

"It was spiritual, inspirational to see individuals come from around the city and indeed from around the nation to try to make sure that people were eating," Meeks said. "I saw neighbors cooking as if it was the summertime on their grills and sharing their food with other neighbors."