Seaside Heights is re-opened in time this Memorial Day Weekend. Summer tourism accounts for 65% of the town's economy.
CNN's Poppy Harlow reports on the Jersey Shore's recovery after Superstorm Sandy.
Dear World's Robert Fogarty & FDNY volunteer Sebastian Danese on a photo project profiling hurricane Sandy survivors.
For more information, visit Dearworld.me.
On Tuesday, the House could vote on $51 billion in federal relief for states affected by Superstorm Sandy. The debate over the Superstorm Sandy aid package, a $17-billion bill with an additional $34 billion amendment, has exposed divisions within the Republican Party and a fight over the "pork." The Conservative Club For Growth has announced it will penalize any lawmaker who votes for the package because they say it includes wasteful spending. This morning Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) joins “Starting Point” to discuss his plans not to vote for the measure.
Mulvaney, who serves as a member on both the Budget Committee and Joint Economic Committee, says his difficulty with the Sandy Aid bill is “that it is not paid for.” He adds, “We’re borrowing this additional money to do this and I just think that’s wrong. I’m hoping we can figure out a way today during the amendment process to find savings elsewhere to pay for this without adding to the debt.”
Mulvaney adds he would encourage his colleague Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) to “consider the fact that in 1989 and even as late as Katrina several years ago the debt was much much smaller.” Mulvaney says in 1989 the debt was approximately around two to three trillion dollars but it is currently five or six times larger than that today. He adds, “we simply cannot continue what we’ve done in the past. That’s how we arrived where we are.”
Mulvaney says, “The days of being able to say ‘ok let’s borrow money from China to do this or let’s borrow money from China to do that have come and gone.’” He says the question is not whether or not the Sandy disaster relief bill is going to be tackled today but whether or not it means enough to lawmakers to say that we are going to pay for it “because if we don’t what we’re essentially saying is our children are going to pay for it.”
It has been more than a month since Superstorm Sandy tore a path of devastation through the Eastern Seaboard. For many however it feels like the day after as they struggle to rebuild and pick up the pieces left by the devastation. Wednesday, dozens of celebrities and musicians held a concert to raise money for sandy victims. Also, the Senate Appropriations Committee just released the text of a bill giving more than 60 billion dollars in aid for the states that were hit. This morning, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development joins “Starting Point” for an exclusive interview on officially being put in charge of the Superstorm Sandy response.
Donovan who is also a native New Yorker and married to a New Jerseyan says, “we’ve reacted more quickly to this storm than any storm in history.” He adds, “in just a month we have 500,000 families that have already registered for aid, we have over a billion dollars that’s already gone to families to help them feed their kids, to find places to sleep while they’re out of their homes.”
On the topic of time, Donovan says, “this is along term process. The president asked me not to take over FEMA’s job – that’s the short term response.” He says his job is to create “a long-term recovery plan.” Donovan adds that every dollar spent during this recovery will result in saving four dollars on recovery from future natural disasters down the road.
Donovan says his priority is “focusing on the response.” He says in the case of a major national disaster like hurricane Katrina there were problems with short-term and long-term recovery. Donovan says, “that’s why in his first year in office the president asked me and secretary Napolitano to put together a framework” that would help the administration respond better to “big disasters that are going to have long-term implications.”
Airport closures due to Superstorm Sandy have had a ripple effect on travel nationwide, and New York's Laguardia airport remains shut down due to flooding.
Newark and JFK airports have reopened this morning, although their services remain limited.
CNN's Richard Quest breaks down the various air and rail travel disruptions that remain in effect this morning.
At least 80 homes in Breezy Point, Queens, a neighborhood on the tip of New York's Rockaway Penisula, were destroyed by a fire during Superstorm Sandy.
200 firefighters battled the six alarm blaze that Mayor Bloomberg described as looking like a Midwest forest fire. By daybreak, fire authorities reported that three people were injured, although all injuries were minor.
NY Conservative Party chairman Mike Long is one of the residents who lost his home in the Breezy Point fire, and he joins Starting Point this morning to explain how the community is responding to the tragedy.
"It's hard for me to even wrap my arms around it," Long says. "It's going to take quite some time but I know that this community will rise again and once again become a great place for families throughout New York."
Nearly 6.6 million people are still without electricity in 15 states and Washington D.C. this morning, with nearly 2 million of them in New York, where flooded subways mean that transportation remains at a virtual standstill.
Starting Point panelists Fmr. Gov. George Pataki, Richard Socarides, and Ben Smith weigh in on the city's response to the natural disaster on the show this morning.
"At some point it’s appropriate to figure out what went wrong and how can we make sure it doesn't happen again but first we have to get through the crisis," Pataki says. "At this point, all the effort has to be on public safety and trying to restore power, transportation and the other essential needs of the people affected.
The panel also discusses Mayor Bloomberg's use of the Spanish language when relying emergency messages to the public.
“It has a huge impact," Gov. Pataki says. "Even if you manage the pronunciation or get the grammar wrong, the fact that you’re making the effort counts enormously.”
This morning, states from North Carolina to Maine continue to deal with the damage and devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, which has caused at least 40 deaths across the United States.
Mayor Cory Booker has been out on the streets of Newark, New Jersey assisting residents and taking requests for help via his Twitter account.
On Starting Point today, Mayor Booker says that power outages are the biggest problem the city is facing, and explains that there are still hundreds of Newark residents going in and out of shelters.
Booker also comments on New Jersey Governor Christie's uncharacteristic praise of President Obama's response to the tragedy, explaining that during crises, people work together to do what's necessary regardless of their political affiliation.
"These are human beings facing a human tragedy and pulling together to do so," Booker says.
Starting Point airs weekdays from 7am to 9am ET on CNN. Check in often to join the daily conversation.