January 14, 2013 / 7:50 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. governors demand Congress pass Sandy aid soon

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The fight to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy has spread beyond the states directly impacted by the disaster, with a bipartisan group representing all governors demanding “swift federal assistance” in a letter to U.S. House of Representatives leaders on Monday.

“Providing disaster relief is not and should never be a political issue,” wrote the National Governors Association in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

The letter was signed by Delaware Governor Jack Markell, a Democrat, and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican.

The House has scheduled a vote for Tuesday on billions of dollars in aid, after approving an initial $9.7 billion relief package for those in states along the east coast hurt by the October storm. In early January, Boehner canceled a vote that would have authorized a total $60.4 billion in assistance to those whose homes and businesses were damaged by the storm.

“It’s been over 70 days since the nation’s second worst natural disaster hit the east coast. Further delays in action will only extend the recovery time for the more than 17.5 million people impacted by the storm,” the governors wrote.

Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2016, pressed for swift passage of the assistance, saying people in his state, one of the worst hit, had been “short-changed.”

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