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Let them play their politics some other time. We need the federal funds.

FEMA aid tied up in Washington politics

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Early this morning the U.S. House passed a new version of a stopgap spending bill that would provide disaster cleanup money, and prevent the government from shutting down in a week. The Republican-run House rejected a nearly identical version on Wednesday.

The bill provides $3.7 billion for victims of Hurricane Irene and other disasters. To make up for the spending, Republican leaders cut funding for a program to encourage fuel-efficient vehicles.

The North Country Congressional delegation split on the vote. And speaking yesterday at a farm ravaged by recent flooding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an end to what he called the political games.

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North Country Congressman Bill Owens of Plattsburgh says that’s inappropriate, in the face of a disaster.  Owens tells the Plattsburgh Press Republican he wants Congress to provide something in the 4.5 to 5-billion dollar range.

Republican Chris Gibson represents the area north of Albany up to Lake Placid.  He voted in favor of the bill.  In a statement, he said the money is critical in his district, and he is disappointed in those who voted against it.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in the Senate say they will reject the House-passed version.  They want more funding for disaster relief.

Gov Cuomo weighed in on the hold-up in Washington yesterday, as he visited a flood-ravaged farm in Orange County. "My message to them is very simple," the governor said. "This is not time to play politics. Let them play their politics some other time. You have farms that are literally on the edge," he continued. "You have homeowners who are still in shelters. You have small businesses people that have  been wiped out. We need thefederal funds. This is not a poltical debate. This is a matter of necessity."  

Cuomo estimates total damages in New York at $1 billion.

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