The Obama administration has formally asked Congress for $60.4 billion in additional federal emergency aid for states hit by superstorm Sandy.
That is above the $50 billion figure floated earlier in the week as a possible request, but still below the amount sought by many states still reeling from the devastation.
"Today's agreement … 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. Both men visited Washington this week to ask for the funds.
The request was made today in a letter from OMB director Jeff Zeints to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The money, if approved, will be directed toward rebuilding homes and public infrastructure in affected communities.
"Our nation has an obligation to assist those who suffered losses and who lack adequate resources to rebuild their lives. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring Federal resources are used responsibly and that the recovery effort is a shared undertaking," wrote Zients.
"Private insurers must fulfill their commitment to the region; public assistance must be targeted for public benefit; resources must be directed to those in greatest need; and impacted States and localities must contribute, as appropriate, to the costs of rebuilding," he said.
Zients wrote that the administration believes Sandy is on track to be the second or third most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.