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Queens Chronicle

House OKs $50B in Hurricane Sandy aid

Meng push for churches defeated

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:42 am, Thu Jan 24, 2013.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved $50 billion in aid for areas hit by Hurricane Sandy in October.

But the final draft did not include an amendment being pushed by freshman Grace Meng (D-Queens) that would have allowed houses of worship damaged or destroyed in he storm to apply for money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Despite roadblocks and inexcusable delays the House finally did the right thing by approving this critical funding,” Meng said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

Meng reiterated that many New Yorkers continue to suffer from the storm that hit more than two months ago, and that the relief on the way is desperately needed.

“The battle we had to fight to secure this aid was outrageous,” she said

The Senate is expected to take up the measure next week. It would bring the total amount of federal Sandy aid to $60 billion.

Meng attempted to attach an amendment to the House measure that would allow churches, synagogues and mosques that were damaged to apply to FEMA for grants.

Speaking two days before the vote at a breakfast hosted by the Queens Jewish Community Council in Kew Gardens Hills, she said houses of worship, like most nonprofits, are ineligible for FEMA grants.

Meng’s measure died in the House Rules Committee and never made it into the legislation that was approved in the floor vote.

A Meng spokesman said she is exploring other legislation and is in contact with FEMA officials on the matter.

Gov. Cuomo, in a joint statement with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, expressed gratitude for he outcome.

“The tradition of Congress being there and providing support for Americans during times of crises, no matter where they live across this great country, lives on in today’s vote of the House of Representatives,” they said in a statement posted on Cuomo’s official website.

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