FEMA: Sandy funding can last until spring

WASHINGTON -- FEMA has enough money to fund superstorm Sandy relief programs through early spring, the agency’s head told Congress Tuesday, undercutting the messages from New Jersey lawmakers who have urged quick passage of a sweeping aid bill.

Fugate told a House committee that FEMA still has $4.8 billion it can distribute, according to the Associated Press.

New Jersey lawmakers last week pressed for quick approval of a supplemental spending bill to increase the amount of money FEMA has, saying it would be wrong for the issue to get caught up in fiscal cliff negotiations and costly to wait until the next session of Congress begins in January. Fugate’s testimony indicates that there is still enough money for the near-term, even if Congress doesn’t act immediately.

In calling for rapid passage of an aid bill, though, New Jersey lawmakers have also noted the importance of quickly giving clarity to residents and businesses trying to decide to rebuild or move.

New Jersey members of Congress have estimated that a Sandy aid package for the entire northeast could be as large as $100 billion, though a White House estimate will take precedence. Congressmen and their aides expect to see that estimate this week.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to be in Washington Thursday to address his state’s request for federal aid.

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