By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It’s too little.
That’s what U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Brooklyn-Staten Island) is saying after learning that President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress for $50 billion in relief aid for New York and other states desvatated by Hurricane Sandy.
“Today’s news that the president plans to ask Congress for roughly $50 billion in recovery aid certainly falls short of our needs,” Grimm said on Dec. 5
The president plans to ask for between $45 and $50 billion dollars from Congress, according to the New York Times.
The figure the president is requesting is puzzling, particularly in view of the fact that he visited Staten Island, saw the immense damage Sandy caused, and talked to local residents, Grimm said. “President Obama saw firsthand the devastation throughout Staten Island and the region, and I respectfully urge the White House to keep our recovery needs in mind and to reconsider the amount of disaster relief funding to more adequately reflect the necessities laid out by our governor and mayor,” Grimm said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have also spoken to members of congress and have requested $42 billion for New York State alone.
The $50 billion in funds the president is requesting would be divided up among several states hit by the hurricane.
“Governor Cuomo has shown exceptional leadership in assessing New York’s needs and making only the most essential recovery aid requests,” Grimm said of the Democratic governor. “He has reached out to the New York delegation, and we stand united in our efforts to seek as much aid as possible to help New York recover. I also continue to work with my Republican colleagues in the House to gain their support for any emergency relief package,” the congressman said.
“While we are all working to strike a balance as we approach the fiscal cliff, this issue is the farthest thing from the minds of my constituents in Staten Island who are struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives as they rebuild or start over,” Grimm said.
Grimm’s congressional district covers the entire borough of Staten Island and also takes in several neighborhoods in Brooklyn including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and Gravesend.
Several areas of Staten Island, including New Dorp and Midland Beach, sustained devastating damage as a result of the hurricane.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge) said the super-storm hit nearly every part of the Staten Island end of her assembly district. “It’s terrible. My constituents are really suffering,” she said.
Malliotakis said she agreed with Grimm’s assessment of Obama’s request for relief funds. “I agree with the congressman. It will require more money. And I agree with Governor Cuomo when he said that New York has always been there for other states in need,” she said.
“We have to rebuild not only for the sake of our economy. New York is the economic engine of the country,” Malliotakis said.