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Sandy recovery claims mount. How much will a divided Congress pay? (+video)

Congress may be wrangling over the 'fiscal cliff,' but budget experts are confident that both parties will agree to provide billions in Sandy recovery aid sought by Northeastern governors.

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The US may be perched on the edge of the “fiscal cliff,” with Republicans demanding spending cuts and Democrats clamoring for tax hikes to reduce the budget deficit.

But, one thing both parties are likely to agree on: spending billions and billions of dollars to help New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and other states recover from superstorm Sandy.

Within the last two days, the governors of New York and New Jersey have released estimates that they will need a combined $79 billion ($42 billion for New York and $37 billion for New Jersey) to pay for repairs, restoration, and mitigation against future storms. Connecticut expects to send its request in shortly.

On Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Washington for meetings just about every thirty minutes with congressional leaders. On Monday, he said the city would like an additional $9.8 billion for storm damage on top of $5.4 billion that they have already submitted to FEMA.

He probably could have saved the airfare because budget experts think Congress is likely to open up the checkbook for this disaster.

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