White House Aid Package a “Powerful Message,” Cuomo says

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Calling it a “powerful first step” and a “powerful message,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed the White House’s proposed aid package for states recovering from Superstorm Sandy.

New York and New Jersey — the two states hardest hit by Sandy — had requested close to $80 billion in federal aid between the two states. Addressing the media in Manhattan, Cuomo said he would rather have President Barack Obama and Congress agree on a $60 billion aid package today than an $80 billion package six months from now.

“For New Yorkers who have had a lot of bad news, wondering how do we put these pieces back again, how do we rebuild homes and rebuild lives and rebuild communities — we’re going to be OK,” Cuomo said. “If we get this funding, this is going to be a significant asset for this state.”

Cuomo said the funding included in the White House package includes about $17 billion in community development block grants, funding the governor said is “flexible” and would be allow the state to maximize its benefit.

Both Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the possibility remains that more aid could be allocated in the future. The White House package was due to be sent to Congress today, and federal lawmakers will have to come to a deal before any supplemental aid is distributed.

“The White House has also said that if there is an additional need in the future, they understand,” Cuomo said. “And if there is an additional need, then we can work on additional supplemental appropriations in the future and they would be supportive of that.”

(Mike Groll / AP Photo)

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