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Cuomo: Individuals Will Suffer Without Federal Sandy Relief Aid
Posted By Jessica Bakeman On January 2, 2013 @ 1:52 pm In Other | Comments Disabled
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday blasted Congress for failing to pass a bill providing relief for states devastated by Superstorm Sandy, accusing lawmakers of “abandon(ing)” thousands of New Yorkers.
At a cabinet meeting at the Capitol, Cuomo said the individuals awaiting aid—those who lost their homes or jobs in the aftermath of the storm—are the ones who will suffer most from inaction by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Republican-led House was expected to vote on the $60 billion aid bill Tuesday, but adjourned instead, leaving the vote to the new Congress, which convenes Thursday. As the process for considering legislation must restart, Cuomo said it is now estimated that it will be a month or more before a deal is reached.
Cuomo said the stall is “purely politics,” specifically, Republican politics.
That delay, Cuomo said, will be significant.
“Go ask any family in Lindenhurst, in the Rockaways, in Staten Island, if the delay bothers them,” he said. “The answer is obvious.
“The length of time that people have been suffering and waiting has already been too long, and the federal assistance can make a major difference in their lives,” he continued.
He said the immediate impact of a delay in federal aid would be harsh for individuals and local governments, but he did not anticipate it affecting his plans for the state budget.
Cuomo said Congress’ inaction is “unprecedented,” saying that the federal government acted much more quickly in the wake of other natural disasters.
“It was a failure. It was a disgrace. I believe it was a dereliction of duty,” Cuomo said. “I believe that government matters, and the functioning of government matters. And to leave New York and New Jersey and thousands of people in this holiday season on their own and abandoned was wrong and disgraceful in a lot of ways.”
Cuomo said he applauds New York’s Congressional delegation, who have been working to garner support for the bill. He said the state’s House members are acting as New Yorkers, not Republicans and Democrats.
Cuomo said he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie worked diligently to achieve passage of the aid bill.
“I don’t think there is anything we could have done or should have done” that they didn’t do, he said.
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