WASHINGTON — Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in Washington D.C. today meeting with lawmakers and other officials about his request for billions of dollars in federal aid to help the city recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last month in New York. Though many City residents affected by Sandy have had some criticism about FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security’s response to the storm, at a press conference in the Capitol Building this afternoon, Mr. Bloomberg said he didn’t have a single issue with the federal followup to the hurricane.
Mr. Bloomberg said his morning schedule in Washington included meetings with key lawmakers and “a long talk and lunch” with Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who is President Barack Obama’s point person on the longterm rebuilding effort after the storm. The mayor gave his assessmentof the federal response to Sandy while discussing his meeting with Mr. Donovan.
“I did thank him for all the help we’ve received from Washington already including from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” said Mr. Bloomberg. ”I will say that the support of both of those agencies was exemplary. And people kept asking me, ‘Is there anything we could improve on?’ And I had to say honestly, no, that I don’t know one complaint. These people–both agencies have worked as hard as anybody could and as effectively as anybody could ask for.”
Overall, Mayor Bloomberg, who was accompanied by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said the reception they received during their push for storm aid was “very good.” Though he and the senators acknowledged the tight federal budget, he expressed confidence the City will get the aid he is seeking.
“There’s every reason to believe that Congress will provide us with the assistance we need given New York City’s importance to the health of the entire nation,” the mayor said. “Consider this, we’re just 2.6 percent of the nation’s population, but we do generate 4.3 percent of America’s gross national product.”