Transcript: Press briefing Q&A with Reid & Schumer on additional federal funding for Hurricane Sandy relief

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of the press briefing Q&A with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on requesting additional federal funding for Hurricane Sandy relief on Nov. 29, 2012:

Question: It looks like as we have people talking – Republicans, perhaps most of them – talking about spending cuts that there’s going to have to be additional spending outside the budget framework for the response to the hurricane [Sandy]. Where do things stand on that? And do you think you’ll be able to deal with that?

Harry Reid: The answer is yes. We are looking for a supplemental from the President Friday, Monday, or Tuesday.

We have Gov. Christie who’s come forward with $37 billion that he feels is needed at this stage. The New York folks have come back with $42 billion.

Remember, whatever we do here will not be the last supplemental. There’s really – I’ve met with the mayor yesterday – Mayor Bloomberg. I mean, it’s hard for me being from a fairly sparsely populated state to talk about hundreds of thousands of people who don’t have a place to live. Hundreds of thousands.

So this is something that I think is important we do as soon as we can. We want to make sure the numbers are basically in the ballpark.

I’ve been told that the Republicans in the House have agreed that this is something that need not be paid for, and I hope that in fact is the case because if there were ever an act of God, an emergency, this is it.

Chuck Schumer: I just want to say something on that. Last night, Sen. [Kirsten] Gillibrand, [Robert] Menendez, [Frank] Lautenberg and I spent about an hour with OMB [Jeffrey] Zients. The night before, we were in my office from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. with Shaun Donovan. And we are laying out specifically to the administration what we need in terms of number but also in terms of flexibility.

We have 300,000 badly damaged houses. The maximum that FEMA gives – $31,900 – won’t rebuild those houses for people who don’t have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover it, and we need help in those. So we need flexibility, which we can’t propose anymore under the earmark rules. The administration has to.

Our meetings have gone very well, and as the Leader said, we expect a supplemental with full administration support Monday or Tuesday.

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