2:06 pm Dec. 3, 2012
Andrew Cuomo met with U.S. housing secretary Shaun Donovan and President Obama's chief of staff, Jack Lew, at the White House this afternoon, the first stop on the governor's trip through Washington today to lobby for federal disaster aid.
Other "senior members of the president's team" were also present, according to a White House official. Another source said the meeting also included Jeffrey Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Rob Nabors, the administration's director of legislative affairs.
Donovan, the former head of New York's housing department, has been tapped by Obama to serve as the adminstration's point person for helping the state rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Lew is also a native New Yorker, who was profiled in the New York Times this weekend as a key player in the ongoing negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff.
New York's elected officials are hoping to separate the state's supplemental request for aid from the broader, thorny negotiations over taxes and entitlements.
The White House visit was added to Cuomo's official schedule this morning, after last night's itinerary listed a series of meetings with congressional leaders. On Capitol Hill, Cuomo will meet with the chairman and vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Daniel Inouye and Thad Cochran, and with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, before heading to the House side for meetings with House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Obama administration is expected to release its request for a Sandy supplemental sometime this week.
Cuomo had expressed concern that a trip to Washington to be covered as some sort of 2016-related maneuver, but overcame his misgivings at some point after Michael Bloomberg led a delegation to the capital last week to lobby for aid.