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The move prompted howls of protest that the largely Democratic East Coast states were being treated much more harshly than the Gulf Coast states that suffered massively from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Just 10 days after that storm, Congress had approved $62 billion in federal disaster aid.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a rising star in the Republican Party who is often touted as a potential 2016 presidential contender, said on Monday that he has been phoning congressional leaders to demand equal treatment to victims of other disasters, including Katrina and a 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri.
“We don’t expect anything more than that, but we will not accept anything less,” Christie told a news conference. “If they want to make new rules about disasters, they picked the wrong state to make the new rules with. And we’re going to continue to fight as hard as we need to.”
The bipartisan National Governors Association also demanded swift passage of the Sandy aid relief.
“Providing disaster relief is not and should never be a political issue,” the group said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
The letter was signed by Delaware Governor Jack Martell, a Democrat, and Oklahoma Governor Mary Falling, a Republican.