Obama asks Congress for $60.4 billion in Sandy disaster aid

President Obama submitted a request to Congress late Friday for $60.4 billion in emergency spending to help the states hit by the Superstorm Sandy.

That's less than the total of about $83 billion the governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey had asked for. It's also likely to be reduced by a deficit-conscious Congress.

The White House request included $66 million to repair damaged Coast Guard Academy property; $3.2 million for erosion and repair work at Plum Island; $9.6 billion in new borrowing authority for the federal flood insurance program and $15 billion in Community Development Block Grants that storm-affected states could use for a variety of reasons.

It also included $32 million for Amtrak to make repairs on damaged tracks and tunnels and $308 million in transportation funds for the Sandy-hit states.

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the head of the House Appropriations Committee, said he would consider the White House request "very thoroughly, with an eye toward prioritizing urgently needed recovery efforts that will have the most benefit to the victims of this storm, and determining the federal role in these efforts."

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy had asked for $3.2 billion, mostly to strengthen Connecticut's defenses against another storm.

Dan DeSimone, the governor's lobbyist in Washington, said that although the White House's request for funds came in "under the estimate," Congress could appropriate more money in the future.

"There were a half-dozen [Hurricane] Katrina bills," he said.

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