* Governor says figure likely to climb
* Supplemental spending bill expected from White House by
end of week
By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON, Dec 3 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
lobbied Congress on Monday for billion of dollars to help
rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, saying the U.S. House leader
wanted a reconstruction bill passed by year's end.
Cuomo, a Democrat, put the damage from the late October
storm at $40 billion to $50 billion for New York alone, with the
total likely to rise.
"We need help. These are big numbers, even for New York," he
told a news conference while flanked by members of the state's
After meeting White House aides, House of Representatives
Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders, Cuomo said
Boehner wanted a supplemental spending bill on Sandy costs
passed by the end of the year.
Congressional aides said there has been no clear consensus
on its size. But they said it would likely be far less than the
nearly $80 billion New York and New Jersey, the states most
heavily hit by Sandy, are seeking combined.
New York last week put damage from Sandy, the most expensive
storm to ever hit the northeastern United States, at $42
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in a letter to the
Federal Emergency Management Agency dated Nov. 30 and released
on Monday, said the economic damage in his state could be nearly
Christie is asking the federal government to reimburse the
state for 100 percent of emergency costs for at least 90 days
after Sandy swept ashore on Oct. 29.
Boehner, who is involved in tense talks with the White House
over a budget crisis, was "positive" about helping New York and
other states hit by Sandy, Cuomo said.
The White House is expected to send a Sandy emergency aid
request to Congress by the end of the week, the governor said.
The congressional aides said lawmakers may get it as early as
Cuomo said he and Boehner did not discuss whether
reconstruction costs would be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.
Offsets are a key issue given the budget crisis involving deep
spending cuts and tax hikes due to take effect in January.
As of Thursday, FEMA's disaster relief fund had about $5.06
billion in funds left after making Sandy obligations totaling
$2.2 billion, according to FEMA reports.
Congress has budget authority to add about another $5
billion to the fund, but would have to vote to approve the