White House warns opposition to $60 billion Sandy bill could be ‘devastating’

Liz Goodwin

President Barack Obama's point person for Superstorm Sandy relief, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan warned on Thursday that the effects could be "devastating" if Congress doesn't pass a $60.4 billion relief bill.

"If Congress doesn't move quickly, we will have tens of thousands of families and small businesses that literally have no way to plan for their future," Donovan told reporters on Thursday in Manhattan, according to a report in Capital New York. "They will be stuck in a limbo that is more devastating than any of us can imagine, their homes and their communities destroyed. And they need to be able to move forward with their lives and to make decisions."

The governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have estimated Sandy's damage at $82 billion, far more than the relief bill proposed by the White House. But some congressional Republicans say $60 billion is too much to spend on relief, according to Reuters, and that there should be hearings on how the money will be spent before the bill is considered.

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona said Wednesday that the amount sought was just "too much," leaving its supporters to worry the aid package will be delayed until after the holidays.

More than $6 billion of the funds would go to repairing the New York City transit system, and $15 billion would go to helping local businesses and homeowners rebuild their damaged property.