Hurricane Sandy may cost taxpayers at least $80 billion.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — along with Northeastern lawmakers such as Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) — met with Congressional leaders and White House officials and are asking for $42 billion in aid for New York and $37 billion in aid for New Jersey.
Requests for additional funding could me made in the future.
According to The Hill, this demand could potentially “wreak havoc on negotiations for a deal on the deficit,” especially since the bill is being requested without any offsets. The $80 billion amount “is more than all the money that would be saved by ending the Bush-era tax rates for top earners next year,” which is at the center of the current fiscal cliff negotiations.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met with Bloomberg but did not commit to a new $80 billion spending bill without offsets.
King, on the other hand, told The Hill House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the bill would not need offsets but “neither Boehner nor his office has confirmed the Speaker made the commitment.”
Schumer said the extra funds were needed for “the Army Corps of Engineers, the Transportation Department and Community Development Block Grants to deal with the storm and to mitigate future storm damage.”
“There is no doubt this is going to be a hard fight,” Schumer said. “It comes in the middle of strenuous negotiations around the fiscal cliff.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can receive $5 billion without offsets under the August 2011 budget deal. The agency had already received $7 billion at the beginning of October.