ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy are joining forces in a regional effort to land nearly $83 billion in federal aid to recover from Superstorm Sandy.
Cuomo said at a New York City briefing Thursday that he is working with committee chairs in Congress to ensure that aid for the three states will be "flexible" so that they can better use the funds where they are most needed.
Cuomo, a Democrat, is asking for $42 billion for repairs and preventive measures. Christie, a Republican, is seeking $37 billion for recovery and rebuilding. Malloy, a Democrat, says Connecticut's bill is $3.5 billion.
The massive requests come at a time when Congress and President Barack Obama are trying to drastically reduce the nation's deficit, weighing spending cuts along with tax cuts that are soon to expire next year.
Cuomo said he's working closely with Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, because getting aid approved by the GOP-led House may be "trickier" than in the Democrat-led Senate.
King told The Associated Press that the cost won't have to be offset by spending cuts as part of the tense budget negotiations. He said Congress is awaiting a proposal from Obama on disaster aid.
"I'm reasonably optimistic," said King, who is pushing for New York's proposal in Congress.
Malloy said the aid is also needed in Connecticut to protect against future storms.
"While our state was not impacted as severely as New York or New Jersey during Storm Sandy, we have seen substantial damage from three storms now that occurred in a little more than a year's time," he said.
AP Writer Susan Haigh contributed to this report from Hartford.