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President Obama Asks For $60.4 Billion In Aid For Areas Hit Hard By Sandy

(Hurricane Sandy also damaged homes in Mantoloking, NJ, about 20 miles north of Long Beach Island.  Credit: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

(Hurricane Sandy also damaged homes in Mantoloking, NJ, about 20 miles north of Long Beach Island. Credit: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $60.4 billion in federal aid for New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Superstorm Sandy in late October, congressional aides said Friday.

Officials from the affected states praised the request and urged Congress to enact it as quickly as possible.

“Today’s agreement on the administration’s request to Congress would authorize more than $60 billion in funding that will enable our states to recover, repair, and rebuild better and stronger than before,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a joint statement.

Cuomo, a Democrat, and Christie, a Republican, came to Washington on Thursday to press for as large a disaster aid package as possible. Friday’s request was at the top end of what had been expected.

The aid will help states rebuild public infrastructure like roads and tunnels and help thousands of people displaced from their homes. Superstorm Sandy was the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The formal paperwork was expected to be sent to Congress later Friday.

The aid request also comes with little time left in a congressional lame-duck session dominated by an impasse over the so-called fiscal cliff.

“While more may be needed in the long term, this robust package is a major first step that we will work to pass as quickly as possible in Congress to help devastated communities, families and businesses,” said Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., in a joint statement.

The aides provided the information on the condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to disclose details of the request.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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