Why were these NJ counties left out of Biden disaster declaration?
President Joe Biden has declared six New Jersey counties as "major disaster areas," freeing up federal money and additional resources to help families and businesses rebuild and recover. However, other hard hit counties were excluded.
Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic and Somerset counties were part of the president's declaration. Other hard hit areas like Hudson, Essex, Union and Morris counties were not part of the order, despite suffering catastrophic flooding.
Biden can expect to get a hard press from Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey's congressional delegation when he tours flood-ravaged Manville in Somerset County Tuesday.
As Murphy toured flood damage on Monday, he welcomed the president's declaration. "This is the first six, but not necessarily the last six, and so we're going to stay in there fighting to get other counties added to the list," Murphy said.
The most glaring exclusion was perhaps Hudson County, where waves of flood waters inundated much of Jersey City, Hoboken and surrounding communities. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fullop called the omission "crazy/shameful."
Fullop and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla have already calculated tens of millions of dollars in damages.
U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-NJ, is among those lobbying the White House to add Hudson and Essex counties to the disaster list.
FEMA teams are still assessing damage in all 21 New Jersey counties, so there is hope more will be included in the disaster declaration.
New Jersey State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean was among those lobbying the president to add Union and Morris counties to his declaration.
U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-NJ, sent out a tweet saying he was confident Union and Essex Counties were "up next" for inclusion.