New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he will keep pressuring fellow Republicans in Congress to approve disaster aid as delays threaten to jeopardize efforts to rebuild for the summer tourist season.
Shore towns are hesitant to start repairing damage from Hurricane Sandy until the full $60 billion of federal aid that has been requested is approved, Christie said in Belmar. The borough today became the first New Jersey shore town damaged by the Oct. 29 storm to begin rebuilding its boardwalk.
“I’ve helped a lot of people get elected to Congress over the last few years, and now they’re going to be hearing from me,” Christie said. “New Jerseyans are running out of patience and so am I.”
Christie, 50, who is seeking a second term in November after his response to Sandy boosted his approval rating, said New Jersey can’t fully recover without funding from Washington. Last week, he scolded U.S. House Republicans who delayed a disaster-aid vote on Jan. 1.
After Christie’s rebuke, Republican House Speaker John Boehner allowed a vote on $9.7 billion of the aid on Jan. 4, and scheduled a Jan. 15 vote for the remainder.
Sandy left 2.7 million New Jersey residents without power, crippled mass transit and flattened some seaside communities. Christie said on Nov. 26 that he will seek a second term to help oversee rebuilding from Sandy, which the administration estimated will cost New Jersey $36.9 billion.
Christie’s approval rating jumped to 77 percent after Sandy, from 56 percent before, according to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll. In a survey released Jan. 7, his approval was at 73 percent, including 62 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of independents.
The governor is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Time magazine with the headline “The Boss,” where they call him the “master of disaster.”