Mayor Bloomberg Warns Federal Shutdown May Affect Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding
NEW YORK—Mayor Michael Bloomberg used his weekly radio show as a bully pulpit Sunday, speaking out against the government shut down, claiming it will hurt those still trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
“Right now Washington’s gridlock is doing real harm to our nation’s economy, and if they don’t get their acts together soon, New York City families—especially those who endured the worst from Hurricane Sandy—will feel real pain,” Bloomberg said in his taped interview on 1010WINS Sunday.
The mayor said Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other types of Federal aid require approval from federal officials, something not possible if workers are not there to handle the paperwork.
The office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which handles the grant money for the city, furloughed all but 13 of its 749 employees, according to USA Today.
“If a grantee for Hurricane Sandy has money in the system, they can continue to draw down on that,” HUD spokesman Jerry Brown said, according to USA Today.
“Beyond that, there will be no new money loaded until the employees are back. For all essential purposes, that office will be closed.”
Federal employees may be heading back to work soon. On Saturday, the House unanimously approved legislation to provide retroactive pay for the approximately 800,000 furloughed federal workers. The White House suggested it strongly supported the measure, but no one is sure if the Senate will approve the measure. The Senate was not in session as of press time Sunday.
New York City is home to nearly 27,000 federal workers, according to the mayor, more than any other city outside of D.C.
The mayor also said replenishing projects, which are key to protecting vulnerable beachfront areas with sand dunes, could be impacted during the shutdown.
“Despite all approvals being in place, the Federal Government has yet to release the second installment of Sandy recovery funds, and this shutdown should not be used as an excuse to further delay funds that have already been appropriated,” the mayor said. “Enough is enough. It’s time for Republicans and Democrats in both the Senate and House of Representatives to come together and reach an immediate resolution.”
In a Sunday morning interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” House Speaker John Boehner said he sees no immediate end in sight to the shutdown.
When asked when it would end, Boehner said, “If I knew, I would tell you.”