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We need the money, and we need it now!
The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and 125 powerful CEOs issued an extraordinary plea to Congress on Thursday, demanding quick action on $60 billion in disaster aid for states devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
The governors voiced frustration that seven weeks have passed and Congress has done nothing – after taking just two weeks to approve $62 billion in disaster aid after Hurricane Katrina and a month to send $20 billion to states flattened by Hurricane Gustav.
PHOTOS: HURRICANE SANDY – BEFORE AND AFTER
â€śOur states have stood with your communities when they suffered and faced devastation. Itâ€™s time for Congress to stand with us,â€ť Govs. Cuomo, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Dannel Malloy of Connecticut wrote in the Washington Post.
The CEOs co-signed a letter warning that â€śfailure to expeditiously fund storm relief and recovery will severely weaken this region and worsen our nation’s overall fiscal condition.â€ť
Back in New York, President Obamaâ€™s hurricane czar issued a similar plea for action – even as he raised the provocative idea of not rebuilding some areas flattened by the superstorm.
GALLERY: STRIKING IMAGES FROM HURRICANE SANDY
”If Congress doesn’t move quickly, we will have tens of thousands of families that have literally no way to plan for their future,” Shaun Donovan, the secretary of housing and urban development, said.
”They will be stuck in a limbo that is more devastating that any of us can imagine.”
As for whether to restore some battered areas, Donovan said, â€śCan we rebuild what was there before? And more importantly, should we?â€ť
VIDEO: NYC TEACHER PENSION FUND PLEDGES $1 BILLION FOR SANDY RELIEF
”There will be a small share – and I would emphasize, a very small share – of communities where it may not make sense to rebuild at all.”
President Obama has asked Congress to approve $60.4 billion – about three quarters of what the states were seeking – to help the battered region recover from the deadly superstorm.
But the request landed on Capitol Hill at time when Obama and Republicans are fighting over how to avoid the â€śfiscal cliffâ€ť – the massive tax hikes and spending cuts that take effect in 2013 if a deal is not reached to slash the deficit.
Mariela Lombard/for New York Daily News
Shaun Donovan urged lawmakers to authorize federal aid for Sandy recovery before the year’s end.
And some Tea Party Republicans in the House are calling for offsetting spending cuts elsewhere in government moncler jacke to pay for Sandy aid – a requirement not imposed after previous disasters.
The CEO letter,moncler paris boutique Cheap Moncler Jackets Outle, the op-ed by moncler womens jackets the three governors and the comments by Obamaâ€™s hurricane czar represented a coordinated effort to build momentum for Congress to act – a day after the 12/12/12 concert focused the worldâ€™s attention on the superstormâ€™s devastation.
But there were signs Thursday of potential new complications on Capitol Hill.
The powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), indicated that he may press to have the disaster aid appropriated over nine years, rather than all at once.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) branded that approach ”laughable.”
”If a locality is going to rebuild a road or tunnel, they need to know the money’s there to sign the contract, to know that they will be reimbursed,” Schumer said.
”You can’t say, we’ll fix a large tunnel — the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel — we’ll fix about half a mile of moncler outlet shop it this year and then we’ll see if we can get the money for the next year.”
Rogers said that he doubts Sandy aid would pass before Christmas, but spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said that he is ”is committed to getting some aid through by the end of session.”
Just how much, ”is unclear right now,” Hing said. â€śWe are still conducting our own analysis.”
Cuomo, Christie and Malloy wrote in their op-ed that â€śstorms and disasters lay waste to communities and deliver damage far beyond the resources and capacity of any single state to recover on its own.â€ť
A Christmas wreath is displayed on the second floor porch railing of a home adjacent to the fire-damaged zone in the Breezy Point section of New York earlier this month.
They added,moncler jacke Cheap Moncler Jackets Outlet Online (46), â€śThis is why Congress has always come to the assistance of Americans facing a recovery effort of this scale.â€ť
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The CEO letter was organized and sent by the Partnership for New York,Cheap Moncler Jackets Outlet Online (27), a business advocacy group.
The signees all head companies that are based in New York or have significant operations in the city, from the leaders of American Express, Time Warner, Morgan Stanley, Macyâ€™s, to Modellâ€™s Sporting Goods CEO Mitchell Modell, NBA Commissioner David Stern and designer outlet online Daily News Chairman and Publisher Mortimer Zuckerman.
â€śThis region is the most critical platform for American business and the largest contributor to federal tax revenues,â€ť the wrote.
â€śIt has been badly shaken … with extraordinary economic and physical damage that must be quickly recovered or we risk deeper, permanent losses. We urge you to support the emergency supplemental budget request submitted by the President without delay.â€ť
Donovan made his comments at a forum in lower Manhattan on the recovery from Sandy.
SANDY VICTIMS SAY $60 BILLION IN FEDERAL AID IS NOT ENOUGH
He revealed that officials in some communities already are debating whether devastated areas moncler men vest – from small blocks to entire neighborhoods – should be rebuilt if the odds are good that they would be devastated again.
”These are very, very hard decisions,” he said.
Donovan said it was too early in the deliberations to identify areas that could be abandoned – but he did not rule out that some of them are within the five boroughs.
VIDEO: WATCH SANDY FLOOD PATH SUBWAY STATIONS
He said there was precedent for such drastic action, noting that after a flood devastated Cedar Rapids, Iowa, homeowners in some flood-prone areas received buyouts to relocate.
Asked for comment, Mayor Bloomberg praised Donovan, his former housing commissioner, but slammed the idea of abandoning the waterfront.
â€śIt’s a ridiculous question,â€ť he said.
â€śWe’ll do everything we can to protect this city, and there are certain risks. We live on islands, with the exception of the Bronx. Surprise, surprise.”
The idea of bailing on a vulnerable neighborhood sparked disbelief among lawmakers who represent some of the neighborhoods hit hard by the historic storm.
â€śPeople have homes and people paid a lot of money from their homes,â€ť said City Councilman Dominic Recchia, who represents Coney Island and Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
â€śYou canâ€™t just take it away,â€ť Recchia said. â€śYou have to sit down and figure it out.â€ť
A HUD spokesman later stressed that decisions on rebuilding would be made in consultation with state and city governments – and that Washington would defer to the local communities.
â€śIf the mayor doesnâ€™t want this to happen, then itâ€™s not going to happen,â€ť said spokesman Alexander Wohl. â€śWhat is appropriate for one place may not be appropriate for another.â€ť
Wohl said Donovan was simply trying to keep â€śevery option on the table.â€ť Donovan has begun a six-month study of the region and at the end of that period, officials from local, state and federal governments will issue a joint rebuilding plan.
He urged damaged communities, from the Jersey Shore to the Connecticut coast, to rebuild in a ”smarter way.”
”The recovery will fall short if we simply rebuild,” he said, suggesting that everything from sea walls to elevated houses ”would be on the table.”
Donovan, who grew up on the upper East Side, also again stressed that the massive task ahead of him is not just a moncler jacke job – but ”is personal.”
He vowed that Washington would not dictate to the storm-battered region how it should rebuild, but it would also not ”abandon” the area like he believes it did to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
”New challenges require new solutions,” Donovan said.
WIth Erin Durkin
WATCH VIDEO: NYC TEACHER PENSION FUND PLEDGES $1 BILLION POST-SANDY