FEMA: $4.8B may go to Sandy recovery
WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Tuesday that there's enough money in the government's disaster relief fund for Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts until early spring.
FEMA Director Craig Fugate told the House Transportation Committee that the fund still has about $4.8 billion that can be dispersed. So far, the government has distributed about $2 billion in aid to the 11 states struck by the late-October storm.
Fugate's testimony undercut appeals by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for more aid immediately. Those three states alone want $83 billion more. President Obama can request up to $5.4 billion more without hitting a spending ceiling. Several Republicans say more than that should be matched by spending cuts in other federal programs.
Obama is expected to send Congress his request for emergency recovery aid this week. The initial amount is certain to be less than the states are requesting.
“The administration is strongly committed to recovery and working with Congress to help communities recover and rebuild,” Fugate said.
Given the recent budget talks and the pressures against new spending, Congress is not expected to approve large amounts of additional money all at once.
States hit hard by Sandy are pressing White House officials for as much money as possible — as soon as possible. The administration's request, however, could get tied up in the talks aimed at averting the fiscal cliff before the Dec. 31 deadline — a $6 trillion combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts— beginning in January.
Lawmakers from states hit by Sandy said they expect the fight for more money to last for months and that several emergency spending bills probably would be needed. They worry that Congress's willingness to provide aid will fade as time goes on.
Transportation panel members urged Fugate to find ways to cut government red tape to get aid quickly to as many people as possible. Fugate said FEMA boosted rental assistance in New York and New Jersey — the hardest hit states — by 125 percent.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said although FEMA has issued millions of dollars for temporary housing, vacancies are hard to find and reimbursements are often too low for whatever is available.
New York lawmakers say that although FEMA may provide storm victims up to $31,900 to repair a home, that's often not enough to rebuild, given high costs in a state such as New York.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Video of white Chicago patrolman fatally firing on fleeing black youth sparks demonstrations
- Foreign policy expert: Obama administration should create Syria safe areas
- Self-driving vehicles closer to getting green light as feds ease stance
- Email address gives FBI lead on record theft of user IDs, passwords
- Kentucky Gov. Beshear restores right to vote for thousands of nonviolent felons
- GOP readies next assault on health care law
- Poll: 4 in 10 know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers
- House Republicans call for refugee limits in spending bill
- Obama pledges support for France against ISIS, wary of role for Russia
- In a first, private company’s rocket returns safely to Earth
- Traffic deaths rise sharply in United States