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Governors Opted for Personal Approach in Sandy Relief Quest

Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, governors of New Jersey and New York, respectively, decided not to hire lobbyists to pursue Sandy aid funding.

It was a gamble, Gov. Chris Christie admitted during a press conference Thursday afternoon, but when it came to securing Hurricane Sandy relief funding from Congress, both he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided it was a task they wanted to take on personally.

Christie, taking questions following the announcement of a new task force aimed at looking at gun control legislation, said no lobbyists were hired to help nudge Congress in the right direction following Sandy. Instead, Christie said he went to work on House Republicans, spending hours each day on the phone, while Cuomo hit the phones to work on House Democrats.

Though HR 152, a Sandy aid package of $50.7 billion, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night, the prospects of getting the disaster aid bill passed in a Republican-controlled House were not always clear. The bill faced criticisms from the GOP, which claimed that it had too much non-essential spending, was littered with pork and entitlements, and was just too much money at a time when the country is struggling to control its debt.

Eventually, however, the bill passed 241-180.

“We spent a lot of time (discussing options) and Governor Cuomo and I made the decision – and if it hadn’t gone well we probably would have been criticized for it – not to hire lobbyists,” Christie said.

With the bill heading to the U.S. Senate where it will presumably pass with much less opposition than in Congress, it appears as though the decision was the right one, Christie said.

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Christie said he spent between three and four hours of each day calling Representatives from around the country, asking them to support the Sandy bill. He said both he and Cuomo also spent a bit of time on the other side of the aisle in a bid for the kind of bipartisanship he said should accompany every decision on disaster relief.

On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with Christie and much of the east coast anticipating a Congressional vote on Sandy relief, Christie said he spent more than six hours a day on the phone trying to persuade those he could to approve the funding.

Christie urged House Republicans, especially those in states that have received disaster funding in recent years, to support the bill. Many of the Republican yes votes the bill received did come from Representatives in states impacted by Sandy and other recent disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike. Not everyone was receptive to Christie’s calls, however.

“Believe me, not every phone call turned out good,” he said. “A lot of them did, but not all.”

According to a report from Politico, the decision of Christie and Cuomo to take a more hands on approach stands out when compared to other disasters. Following Katrina, the article states, dozens of groups signed up with firms to lobby Congress for relief funding.

Some are still lobbying Congress for more Katrina aid for Gulf States, Politico claims.

Christie said some Representatives he considers friends voted against the bill, despite his best efforts. While he’s not willing to jettison them just yet, saying that he dislikes judging people based solely on one decision, he did say he was disappointed that they voted against something so important to him.      

. January 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM
This guy makes it sound like everything he does is a personal favor to the people of New Jersey, when really this is what he gets paid to do. What a bag of hot air!
impeach1 January 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM
yada yada yada. Not a Christie supporter,me, but cut him a little slack. I want to know who, personal friends, voted against this funding. That's what is important.
VoiceofReason January 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM
^ They don't usually handle things like this on their own, they usually just sign papers and agree. He's doing the leg work as well - He's been pretty on point and directly involved from the begining. Chris Christie has really impressed me throughout all of this.
proud January 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM
When Corzine sold out the New Jersey economy in an attempt to buy an election, it wasn't a favor? He was just doing his job? Fortunately, Corzine failed. I applaud Chris Christie for getting out there with the people, and not just cuddling with union leaders and holding fund raisers.
impeach1 January 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM
"We are very proud of that fact, and will do what we can to keep it as low as possible, especially in light of the devastation by Superstorm Sandy," Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said. "We will continue to pursue all grant opportunities, and seek federal and state assistance to keep the tax impact at minimal levels for our homeowners." Are you also proud of the 50% tax increase you all inherited from Mayor Varano, screwing those who have no kids in school, limited municipal services, a cop "on call", are you kidding me? Holiday City and Silver Ridge, et al are paying $2200 per year(my mother has a house there) before, yes, before the senior citizens discount and veterans discount. Give me a break. Seaside Park has a better tax rate, and soon we will be part of it. And then you can all pay your fair share.
Robert Yates January 18, 2013 at 03:01 PM
A member of congress should never vote one way or the other based upon the relationship he or she may have with the person asking him or her to vote a given way. Every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. Christie is asking those members to either borrow money that the US does not have or to simply ask the fed to print more money out of thin air to pay for this so called relief. Borrowing money enslaves us to foreign entities (just ask the British; it's what we did to them after the world wars) and printing money causes the price of everything to go up, hence destroying the budgets of low and middle class families. Either option is a bad option, therefore voting against the bill was the only reasonable thing that a congressmen could do, notwithstanding the wonderful favor Christie is dong for the people of NJ. Thanks but no thanks gov.
Chief Wahoo January 18, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Great Job Governor.....Whatever you think needs to be done, i will be there helping as best i can......You are A True Conservative Jersey Strong
impeach1 January 18, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Seaside Park When can we expect a similar meeting in Berkeley Township?? Post-Sandy Rebuilding Meeting Presentation begins at 15 minute mark
J.JONES January 18, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Christie seems to be fighting harder to help the people who had Damages from Sandy more then Obama who said he would never give up or forget whet walking with the Gov. Great Job Gov.Christie..
Donkey Tales January 18, 2013 at 04:42 PM
You have to love Democrats who claim they support the middle class - UNLESS you are not union!!! A bill that was authored by an Ironworkers’ union organizer to expand union-only Project Labor Agreements–to include Hurricane Sandy cleanup and reconstruction–passed the New Jersey Senate on Monday along party lines 23-13. The Ironworkers’ union organizer who drafted the pro-union bill, Steven Sweeney, also happens to be the president of the New Jersey Senate and recently accused New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of “praying” for Hurricane Sandy to hit New Jersey. As it turns out, though, unions must be counting their blessing with the New Jersey’s Senate passage of S. 2425 which adds adds to an already-existing discriminatory PLA laws in New Jersey: “New Jersey has had a project labor agreement law on the books since 2002, but highways, bridges, pumping stations and water and sewage treatment plants were exempted. With extensive rebuilding needed on those structures along the shore, this bill includes them. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who authored the legislation and fast tracked it, said the agreements are key to making sure work goes to New Jersey workers.” A Project Labor Agreement, according to the bill, “means a form of pre-hire collective bargaining agreement covering terms and conditions of a specific project.” In other words, non-union construction workers are not welcome.
barbara January 18, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Go Governor! You the best!
Chief Wahoo January 18, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Jersey Strong....Union Strong.....Whatever it takes, whatever it costs.....
. January 18, 2013 at 08:09 PM
You people are all so fooled by this guy!
. January 18, 2013 at 08:09 PM
You people are all so fooled by this guy!
seventeen January 19, 2013 at 02:40 AM
"Jersey Strong"! So, why do we need to beg the 'Feds' to 'Bail Us Out'? This is going to cost us 'Taxpayers' a 'Fortune'! We'll never 'recover' from it. We'll all become 'drowned rats'. "When You live in Paradise [with a view of the Ocean].. You have to expect a little 'Hell', once in awhile". It's your 'mis-fortune'.. not ours to pay for.
Trish January 19, 2013 at 03:36 AM
I like to know what our towns are doing to challenge FEMA's food maps?
Can't handle the truth January 25, 2013 at 04:10 AM
the relationship between the unions and federal , local and city governments . is Bankrupting the states. NJ, must change to a right to work state.
Can't handle the truth January 25, 2013 at 04:13 AM
He doesn't lead from behind, he doesn't kiss the asses of the unions. everybody has a right to live .

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