By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbied Congress on Monday for billions 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 congressional delegation.
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 billion.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency dated November 30 and released on Monday, said the economic damage in his state could be nearly $40 billion.
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 October 29. Continued...