Christie tells Congress to stop ‘bickering,’ act on Sandy disaster relief before New Years

BELMAR – Gov. Chris Christie called on federal lawmakers to stop “bickering” and approve a $60.4 billion request for aid by three states following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

The governor spoke at a town hall event in Belmar. It’s the first town hall Christie’s held since before Sandy slammed into the Jersey coast and delivered a devastating blow to the state. He called on Congress to act before New Year’s on the aid bill request for disaster relief.

“While I know they are consumed with fighting and bickering with each other … don’t forget that people are suffering,” he said. “They can return to bickering as soon as they get done with the business that is the first responsibility of government.”

The governor told the packed house in Belmar that government’s first responsibility is to protect people and their property.

Christie said Congress should put their partisan fights aside and work on getting New Jersey, New York and Connecticut “back to [being] whole.”

Christie said a large part of rebuilding in the state will be dependent on the federal government, arguing officials in storm-tattered states were careful of their review in requests for aid.

“I understand that they have to review it and discuss it and debate it,” he said, adding, “We didn’t just throw a number up against the wall.”

Christie made the comments on the heels of news reports that some U.S. Senate Republicans are seeking to slash the $60.4 billion aid request and proposed funding only $23.8 billion in immediate disaster relief, according to published reports.

"The governor still has to come to bat."
—Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, on Atlantic City.