Senators ask Obama for more Sandy recovery money

Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Joe Lieberman Tuesday joined colleagues from New York, New Jersey and other states affected by Hurricane Sandy in asking President Obama for more money for recovery efforts.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has enough money to respond to Sandy, but the senators urged Obama to request an additional appropriation from Congress — and to factor in a 100 percent reimbursement rate to state and local governments for the cost of cleanup and reconstruction efforts.

“Given the enormity of the storm and the fact that state and local governments are already facing tight budgets, we ask that you consider increasing the federal share for … affected states and calculate such adjustments into your request to ensure that combined federal and non-federal funds are sufficient for a full recovery,” the senators’ letter said.

Under law, FEMA is only required to reimburse state and local governments for 75 percent to 90 percent of most expenses related to a major disaster.

The agency announced Tuesday that inspectors have arrived in Connecticut to assess damages to homes, a move FEMA called “an important step in determining both the amount and the types of assistance FEMA may provide.”

FEMA also said Connecticut renters who lost their homes or personal property as a result of Hurricane Sandy may be eligible for disaster-related assistance, and that free help with storm-related legal issues is available for Sandy victims through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association and the Connecticut Bar Association.