Obama to ask Congress for more than $60 billion for storm repairs

Fri Dec 7, 2012 5:37pm EST

The debris of a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy is seen one month after the disaster at the zone of Union Beach in New Jersey November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz.

The debris of a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy is seen one month after the disaster at the zone of Union Beach in New Jersey November 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz.

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(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's administration will ask U.S. lawmakers to approve more than $60 billion in funding for East Coast states to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.

Officials from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which were hit hard by the storm, had asked for much more, saying they needed at least $82 billion altogether to make emergency repairs and upgrade infrastructure to prevent similar damage from future storms.

"The request is crafted to afford maximum flexibility to state governments and we will continue to work with the administration and Congress as our needs arise," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said in a joint statement.

aides pegged the figure at $60.4 billion.

Lawmakers are under pressure to cut spending and raise revenue as they try to reduce the federal deficit.

At the same time, state and city budgets are still thin as they try to recover from years of lost property tax revenue and ballooning pension and other costs.

"We need a full recovery package to be voted on in this session of Congress," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement. "Any delay will impede our recovery."

(Reporting By Hilary Russ; Additional reporting by David Lawder; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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