In a change of plan, Cuomo follows other New York leaders to Washington
Governor Andrew Cuomo will reportedly travel to Washington Monday to lobby federal lawmakers for $42 billion to help the state recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. The trip is Cuomo's first to the nation's capital since he became governor.
Last month, Cuomo scoffed at the idea of traveling to Washington for federal aid. When asked about the subject during a November 12 press conference by a Wall Street Journal reporter, Cuomo, with a smile, said, "Laura, if I went to Washington now, what story would you write?"
The trip is a chance for Cuomo to adjust his strategy in seeking one of the largest federal packages ever after a natural disaster, a storm that Cuomo said was more damaging in some ways than Katrina.
Initially, Cuomo asked for $30 billion, which angered some New York lawmakers because they learned of it from news reports and not from the governor directly.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent all day Wednesday glad-handling federal lawmakers in Washington, and appeared alongside Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The headline in The Times was "Bloomberg Lobbies Capitol Hill for Storm Aid, but Cuomo Stays Home."
Cuomo's Republican counterpart in New Jersey has won national praise for shunning partisan politics in order to respond to the storm, embracing President Barack Obama in the final days of the presidential election and drawing attention to the horrific damage his state incurred.
And just yesterday, Gillibrand gave a tearful account in a Senate hearing of a mother from Staten Island who lost her two sons when flood waters ripped them from her arms.
Earlier this week Cuomo softened his position on going to Washington, saying at a press conference in his Manhattan office that he would do whatever was suggested by Rep. Peter King, the Long Island Republican who is spearheading efforts to get New York's request past the G.O.P.-controlled House.
Cuomo's trip to Washington will yield 2016 speculation, of course, but he's probably not as bothered by that as his comments usually suggest: As the Wall Street Journal revealed, Cuomo's staff has written talking points for lawmakers that are meant to frame Cuomo as a national leader.