Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekly Address: Working Together to Extend the Middle Class Tax Cuts

President Obama urges Congress to act now on one thing that everyone agrees on -- ensuring that taxes don’t go up on 98 percent of all Americans and 97 percent of small businesses at the end of the year. On Friday, the President had a constructive meeting with Congressional leaders on finding ways to reduce our deficit in a way that strengthens our economy and protects our middle class, and he looks forward to working together to get this done.

Naomi Klein on Capitalism and Climate Change

Moyers & Company

Air Date: November 16, 2012
The Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein joins Bill to discuss hurricanes, climate change and democracy.

Hurricane Sandy and the People’s Relief

Moyers & Company

Watch how Occupy Sandy and other community organizations are helping some of New York's most vulnerable residents in the wake of the superstorm.

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Hearing on Meningitis Outbreak

Air date: November 17, 2012

Anna Edney discusses issues raised at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 32 people from contaminated drugs supplied by a Massachusetts-based "compounding pharmacy". Several of the legislators asked pointed questions about the role of the Food and Drug Administration in the oversight of these types of pharmacies.

'We Honor the Millions That Lost Their Lives During This Man-Made Catastrophe..'

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

Statement by the Press Secretary on Holodomor

At this time of commemoration, Americans join with the people of Ukraine and with Ukrainians around the world in remembering those who died in the tragic events of the “Holodomor” —or “death by hunger”—in 1932 and 1933.  We honor the millions who lost their lives during this man-made catastrophe, in which Ukrainian farms and crops were seized in a deliberate attempt to break the will of the Ukrainian people.  It is a tribute to the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people that, even in the face of this unconscionable cruelty, they did not abandon their pursuit of dignity, universal rights, and sovereignty.  The struggle of Ukrainians today to build a democracy that upholds those enduring values honors their memory. 

On this solemn occasion, as we remember and honor the victims of the Holodomor, we reiterate our call for universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and renew our commitment to preventing similar atrocities from ever happening again.

FCC Announces Notice of Proposed Rule-Making on 'Wright Petition'

Case Was Referred to the Federal Communications Commission in 2001

Washington, DC – On Thursday, before a cheering crowd of 75 civil rights leaders, media justice activists and families of prisoners, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner (FCC) Mignon Clyburn announced that the FCC is circulating a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Docket #96-128, otherwise known as the "Wright Petition."

Commissioner Clyburn shared the news at the "Strong Families, Safe Communities" rally hosted by the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice outside the FCC offices.

The "Wright Petition" is named after Martha Wright, the leading plaintiff in a 2000 class-action lawsuit, Wright v. Corrections Corporation of America, filed in response to the exorbitant phone rates that Wright had to pay in order to talk to her grandson in prison. The case was referred to the FCC in 2001.

A Petition for Rulemaking was filed in 2003, asking the FCC to restructure long-distance services to introduce competition in order to lower prison phone rates.

In 2007, an Alternative Rulemaking Proposal was filed, asking the FCC to establish benchmark rates for interstate prison phone calls.

The 2007 alternative rulemaking proposal called for a limit of $.20 per minute for debit phone calls and $.25 per minute for collect calls.

Currently, prisoners and their families pay up to more than $17.00 for a 15-minute interstate collect phone call. Companies that run the prison phone systems – primarily Global Tel*Link, Securus and CenturyLink – make excessive profits on the calls, kicking back an agreed-upon percentage of prison phone revenue to state corrections agencies.

Following FCC Commissioner Clyburn's remarks at the rally, representatives from the Prison Policy Initiative, Participant Media, Sum of Us and the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice presented her with 40,000 signatures in support of action on the Wright Petition.

Former prisoners and family members also spoke before the crowd, sharing their stories about the personal, economic and community impacts of exorbitant and largely unregulated prison phone rates.

"On January 18, 2002 the prison telephone nightmare began for my family," said Lillie Branch-Kennedy.

Branch-Kennedy noted that during the first four years of her son's incarceration 200 miles from home, she and her husband paid over $10,000 in phone bills.

"I'm outraged at the phone companies for victimizing the other victim: the families of prisoners," Branch-Kennedy said.

With the FCC's issuance of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Wright Petition, there is renewed hope that those victimized by price-gouging prison phone companies might find some justice.

The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice is jointly led by Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), Working Narratives and Human Rights Defense Center/Prison Legal News.

Visit to learn more about the campaign.

Petraeus Says 'Terror' Talk Was Removed from Benghazi Report

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By Christian Bryant

Anchor: Christian Bryant

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Twelve-Term Congressman Ron Paul Says Farewell to Congress

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Los Angeles Times 

By Madison Mack

Anchor: Zach Toombs

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U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Says Iran Can Double Uranium Enrichment

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By Steven Sparkman

Anchor: Christian Bryant

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IKEA Admits 'Deep Regrets' in Benefiting From Forced Labor

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By Jeremy Truitt

Anchor: Jeremy Truitt

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Today in History: November 17th

Highlights of this day in history: President Richard Nixon says 'I am not a crook'; Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England; Suez Canal opens; Congress holds first DC session; Sculptor Auguste Rodin dies; Film director Martin Scorsese born. 

Israeli Army Spokesman: 'Hamas is a Terror Organization'

Avial Leibovich, Israeli military spokesperson, tells Al Jazeera that Hamas and any of its affiliated groups are potential targets of Israeli air strikes. Leibovich said the aim is to cripple terror activities in Gaza and stop rocket attacks in Israel.

Merkel Pushes Putin on Civil Liberty

Angela Merkel has clashed with Vladimir Putin over the jailing of the feminist rock band - Pussy Riot. Tensions flared in public after the German Chancellor pushed the Russian President over his country's human rights record. Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from Moscow.

Sierra Leone Braced for Tight Election Race

Saturday is election day in Sierra Leone. It is the third set of elections since the end of the civil war which lasted for more than ten years. Nine candidates are vying for the Presidency. Current leader Ernest Koroma seeking re-election. He will have to get more than 55 per cent of the vote to avoid a run-off. Voters are also choosing 112 members of parliament and local elections are being held for regional councilors and Mayors. Al Jazeera's Ama Boateng reports from Freetown.

Friday, November 16, 2012

West Wing Week: 11/16/12

This week, the President invited fourteen middle-class Americans to stand with him as he spoke on next steps for our continued economic recovery, honored Veteran's Day with veterans, service members and their families at Arlington National Cemetery, held a news conference in the East Room and traveled to New York to continue to work on recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.

Oval Office Chat Session: Obama and Erdogan

Leaders Discuss Conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip and Express Concern for Civilian Populations on Both Sides 

Today, the President called Prime Minister Erdogan to discuss the escalating violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip.  

The two leaders shared their concerns about the dangers to civilian populations on both sides and expressed their common desire to see an end to the violence.  

The President and Prime Minister agreed that the continued spiral of violence jeopardizes prospects for a durable, lasting peace in the region.  

The President underscored his commitment to advancing the goal of Middle East peace. 

The President’s call to Prime Minister Erdogan follows his outreach to counterparts in Israel and Egypt on November 14.

Over 12,000 Rental Cars Relocated to New York Metro Area

An Additional 5,000 On the Way

New York State is working with car rental companies to meet consumer demands and ensure that New Yorkers are not left without travel options during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

At the Governor’s direction, the Department of State has facilitated the relocation of more than 12,000 cars to the New York metro area with an additional 5,000 vehicles on the way.

This action will help accommodate those New Yorkers whose cars were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

“Hurricane Sandy left many New Yorkers without vehicles that they depend on for work and day-to-day functions,” said Governor Cuomo.

“The car rental companies are stepping up to the plate to meet the high demand for cars and help consumers return to their everyday lives. I commend them for their swift response and I urge other rental companies in New York to join in the recovery efforts.” 

Enterprise Holding -owner of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car- has publicly announced that it is relocating more than 12,000 additional vehicles to the New York metro area, with another 5,000 on the way to help accommodate the travel needs of customers impacted by the Hurricane.

During the past few weeks, the companies have also been able to process more than 26,000 insurance-related car rentals to serve the needs of consumers. Other car rental companies are expected to follow suit.

In addition the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) is coordinating with the Department of State’s Deputy Secretary, Marcos Vigil to make sure tens of thousands of cars and trucks are relocated to the Eastern Seaboard as fast as possible.

The Division of Consumer Protection has also received reports of rental companies overcharging for vehicle rentals to consumers who so desperately need replacement vehicles to get to their jobs or destinations. 

The Division will be closely monitoring these complaints and will continue coordinating with the rental car industry to ensure that consumers are treated fairly and expediently. 

Consumers who are experiencing difficulties dealing with rental car companies can file a consumer complaint with the Division of Consumer Protection here  or by calling 1- 800-697-1220.

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Boehner: Meeting with Obama 'Very Constructive'

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President Obama with Bipartisan Congressional Leaders

President Obama spoke to reporters after meeting with congressional leaders about the “fiscal cliff.”

U.S. Postal Service Sees Record Loss

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By Nichole Cartmell

Anchor: Zach Toombs

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Google Investing $75 Million in Iowa Wind Farm 

By Elizabeth Hagedorn

Anchor: Zach Toombs

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Today in History: November 16th

Highlights of this day in history: Dr. Sam Sheppard acquitted of murder in new trial; U.S. and U.S.S.R. form diplomatic ties; Second anthrax letter found sent to Capitol Hill; Actor William Holden dies; 'Sound of Music' hits Broadway. 

Rocket Fired from Gaza Lands Near Jerusalem

No causalities reported as Palestinian fighters launch unprecedented attack amid continuing Israeli strikes on Gaza.

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Ambulance Services at Breaking Point in Aleppo

As the fighting intensifies in Syria, medical services are fully stretched. But nowhere more so than in Aleppo, where they're at breaking point. Now a civilian organisation calling itself "Sedk," the Arabic word for honesty, is setting up a special ambulance service. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons joined them for a day.

Desperate Conditions for Displaced Nigerians

Violence that followed elections in northern Nigeria last year forced thousands of people to flee their homes. That was 18 months ago. But in Kaduna city, hundreds of people are still living in a camp in desperate conditions. Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow reports.

Wave of Murders Hit Brazil's Largest City

Brazil's largest city of Sao Paulo is experiencing a sudden increase in murder cases and the its own police force is struggling to end the wave of killings. Over the weekend, there were over 30 murders in the state -- part of the worst murder spree in Sao Paulo in years. Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo reports from Sao Paulo.

U.N. Court Overturns Convictions of Croat Generals

The U.N. war crimes tribunal has overturned the convictions of two Croatian generals, charged with atrocities against Serbs in the 1990s. Jonah Hull has this report.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

President Obama Tours Storm Damage in NYC

Filmed November 15, 2012

President Obama discusses the response to Hurricane Sandy after touring parts of New York City affected by the storm. 

Conflict Intensifies as Rockets Hit Tel Aviv

Netanyahu blames Hamas for violence as three die in Israel and the toll on the Palestinian side rises to 16.

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White House Tribal Nations Conference on Dec. 5

President Obama Aims to Strengthen Relationship with Indian Country

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, December 5, President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior.

The conference will provide leaders from the 566 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration.

Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference.

This will be the fourth White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President’s commitment to strengthen the government to government relationship with Indian Country. 

Additional details about the conference will be released at a later date.

Secretaries Napolitano and Donovan Visit Long Island

Napolitano: "We are Continuing to Bring Tremendous Resources to Help Those in Need"

LONG ISLAND, N.Y.— Prior to joining the President on his visit to New York today, this morning Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan traveled to Long Island, N.Y. to meet with state and local officials and discuss ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Sandy.

Secretaries Napolitano and Donovan reiterated the ongoing support from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), HUD and the rest of the federal family for communities in impacted states, as response and recovery efforts continue.

“On Long Island, and across New York and all the impacted states, the federal government has continued to deploy people, assets, and resources to help communities rebuild and recover,” said Secretary Napolitano.

“We are continuing to bring tremendous resources to help those in need. We are making progress and our commitment is to be here for the duration – to work with impacted communities throughout the region and ensure they emerge even stronger.”

Secretary Donovan added, “As we continue to speed immediate relief to storm victims, we must also look toward long-term recovery of these battered neighborhoods. Working closely with state and local leaders, along with our nonprofit and private sector partners, we’ll do whatever it takes to put these communities back on their feet again.”

Secretaries Napolitano and Donovan visited the Long Beach Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) and met with disaster survivors and state and local officials, to discuss coordination among federal, state and local partners on recovery efforts throughout the region.

DRCs will continue to open in the hardest hit areas to provide information and support to survivors.

Currently 32 DRCs are open in New York. Specialists from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors.

President Obama declared a major disaster for New York on Oct. 30. Federal funding is available to affected individuals in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster, Sullivan and Westchester.

The first step to receive housing and other assistance is registering for disaster assistance. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in New York can apply for assistance online at, by web enabled mobile device at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). 

Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.  The toll-free telephone numbers are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.

For more information, visit or

Home Heating Assistance Available on Nov. 19

The Maximum Regular HEAP Benefit a Household Can Receive is $650

The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced that New York’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) will begin accepting applications for regular benefits on Monday, November 19.

HEAP, overseen by OTDA, provides assistance to help low-income and elderly New Yorkers keep their homes warm in the winter months.

“Rising energy prices and colder temperatures will make it even harder for many low-income families and senior citizens on fixed incomes to afford their heating bills this winter,” said OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin.

“HEAP will provide sorely-needed assistance to over one million New York State households, enabling them to keep their heat on when the cold weather sets in.”

HEAP is a federally-funded program to help eligible households in meeting their home energy needs.

This winter, the maximum regular HEAP benefit a household can receive is $650. Eligibility for HEAP is based on income and household size. For example, a family of four can have a household income of $49,333 a year and still qualify for a HEAP benefit.

Eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit per season, but may also be eligible for an emergency HEAP benefit if they are in danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off.

Applications for emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted beginning January 2, 2013.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early, as HEAP benefits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications for regular benefits will be accepted through at least March 15, 2013.

New York residents can check if they may be eligible for HEAP, and numerous other benefits, by answering a few questions online at

Last winter, 1.5 million households received HEAP benefits.

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Slavery: A 21st Century Evil (Prison Slaves)

Uploaded to YouTube by  on Nov 21, 2011
Over the past 20 years China has become the world's biggest exporter of consumer goods. But behind this apparent success story is a dark secret - millions of men and women locked up in prisons and forced into intensive manual labor.

McCain on Benghazi: 'Cover-Up or Incompetence'

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Amid Political Storm, Obama to View Sandy Recovery

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News Review with Ron Paul

Air date: November 15, 2012

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) discusses the latest developments Libya as well as negotiations in Congress regarding the “fiscal cliff,” the impending tax increases and budget cuts at the end of 2012 if Congress fails reach a new budget agreement. Representative Paul is a member of the foreign affairs committee, which held a hearing on Benghazi.

Top Newsy Headlines: FBI Agent in Petraeus Scandal Revealed

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By Nathan Byrne

Anchor: Logan Tittle

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U.N. Declares Access to Contraception a Universal Human Right

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Think ProgressThe Guardian 

By Lora Vlaeva

Anchor: Zach Toombs

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Today in History: November 15th

Oval Office Chat Session: Obama, Netanyahu and Morsi

Leaders Discuss Escalating Violence in Gaza

On November 14, the President spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi about the rocket attacks being launched from Gaza into Israel, and the escalating violence in Gaza. 

The President reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States’ support for Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.  The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.  The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate.  The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days.  Earlier today, Vice President Biden received a briefing from Prime Minister Netanyahu on the events in Gaza.

The President also spoke with President Morsi given Egypt’s central role in preserving regional security.  In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense.  The two leaders agreed on the importance of working to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible and agreed to stay in close touch in the days ahead.

Israeli Spokesman Discusses Latest Attacks

Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev speaks with Al Jazeera about the Hamas rocket attack that killed three Israelis in the southern city of Kiryat Malachi. Regev says this kind of attack is "nothing new", and that Israeli will "continue to hit the Hamas military machine". When asked whether all 15 Palestinians killed so far in the Israeli airstrikes were involved with the attacks on Israeli civilians, Regev said Israel "only targets militants" but unfortunately sometimes innocent civilians get caught in the crossfire.

World Reacts to Latest Violence in Gaza

The international community is closely watching the escalation in violence in Gaza. There've been words of condemnation and calls for restraint - but so far no concrete action has been taken.   Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker reports.

China's New Leadership Led by Xi Jinping

China's leadership transition has formally concluded. Vice President Xi Jinping was chosen as General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party. With his new leadership post, Xi also becomes the commander-in-chief of China's military. Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna reports from Beijing.

Putin Passes New Controversial Treason Law

It's been seven months since Vladimir Putin returned to power as Russia's President. In that time he has passed a number of laws that rights groups say undermine civil liberties and freedom of speech. The latest controversial law passed is on treason. Rights activists say it's so vague that it would mean any dissenter could be branded a traitor. Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from Moscow.

Ireland Abortion Refusal Ignites Uproar

Hundreds of people have protested in Ireland over the death of a woman who was refused an abortion. Savita Halappanavar was admitted to hospital while miscarrying and in severe pain, but doctors refused to complete the spontaneous abortion. Halappanavar later died of blood poisoning. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports Dublin, Ireland.

U.N. 'Failed to Protect Sri Lanka Refugees'

The U.N. is promising to learn from its mistakes, after a scathing internal report accused the world body of failing to protect civilians during Sri Lanka's civil war. Tens of thousands of people were killed in the final months of fighting between government forces and the Tamil Tigers. Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reports from New York.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Presidential News Conference

Air date: November 14, 2012

President Obama spoke to reporters and answered questions in his first formal news conference since his re-election. Among the topics addressed were the resignation of General David Petraeus as CIA director, demographics of the American electorate, the state of the economy, budget negotiations and efforts to avoid the economic “fiscal cliff” in January 2013, potential cabinet appointments, and his agenda for a second term.

Emergency Loan Fund to Help Small Businesses Impacted by Sandy

Program Will Provide Low-Interest Loans of Up to $25,000

The New York Bankers Association (NYBA) and the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) have agreed to establish a $10 million small business emergency loan fund to provide immediate financial assistance for businesses impacted by Storm Sandy. 

Under the fund, businesses will be able to apply for loans of up to $25,000 immediately by going to www.esd.ny.govor by calling 1-855-NYS-SANDY. 

“New York’s banks are stepping up to help our state’s small businesses rebuild and restart in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” Governor Cuomo said.

“This loan program will help those businesses who were hit hardest by the storm get the resources they need to repair immediately, allowing them to continue to provide jobs to our communities and strength to our economy. I applaud the New York Bankers Association for providing relief to these businesses and joining the growing efforts by the private sector to help all New Yorkers recover.”

Michael P. Smith, President & CEO, New York Bankers Association stated, “The banking industry understands that the quick recovery of small businesses will be key to the rebuilding of our neighborhoods. We are eager to help in this critical effort so that New York’s small business owners can get back to work, and back to providing goods and services to their communities.”

The emergency loan program will provide low-interest loans of up to $25,000 to small businesses in an expedited manner to help in the recovery efforts.

The New York Business Development Corporation will manage and operate the loan program in coordination with Empire State Development (ESD).

Through the program, small businesses in affected communities will be eligible to receive loans of up to $25,000 that will be interest and payment-free for the first six months and then at one percent interest for the following two years.

Eligible businesses can use the funding to cover the costs of replacement and repairs to facilities or equipment or as working capital needed to restart or continue business operations.

The emergency loan program is for independently owned and operated businesses that have fewer than 100 employees and are located in the counties designated as disaster areas: Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, and the five boroughs of New York City.

To be eligible to receive funding through the program, companies must have filed 2011 business tax returns and have experienced direct damage or economic hardship as a result of Sandy.

Applications will be available within the week and businesses are expected to begin to receive funding five to seven days after submitting a complete application and the required documentation.

"The recovery of our communities depends on the ability of their local businesses to have the resources they need to get back to business. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the state is providing immediate and direct assistance to help those who need it most during these difficult times," said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams.

Chris Giamo, Regional President for New York and Northern New Jersey, TD Bank noted, "TD Bank is proud to lend our support to this important effort which will assist in restoring and supporting businesses as Hurricane Sandy recovery moves forward. Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this natural disaster and we look forward to seeing the results of this investment in the greater New York Community.”

Created in 1955, NYBDC is a consortium of banks committed to supporting economic development and job growth opportunities in New York State by providing government guaranteed and conventional loans to small businesses at all stages of development.

NYBDC works with its member banks to provide creative, responsive and cost effective financing solutions when a conventional alternative is not available through long-term working capital, equipment, and real estate loans to a variety of businesses located in New York State, either in participation with, or as an adjunct to, the banking industry.

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FEMA Offers Emergency Assistance for Homeowners

Cuomo: "Now It is Time to Restore and Rebuild These Homes..."

FEMA will issue Emergency Assistance for New Yorkers whose homes were affected by Hurricane Sandy. At the Governor’s request, FEMA will bring in contractors in order to perform basic repairs so that residents can return to their homes while more long term repairs are in progress.

Only residents in the federally-declared declared counties are eligible to participate in this program. Homeowners in these localities who want to apply for assistance should contact their county or local officials to receive contractor support. Homeowners must be registered with FEMA, which they can do by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).

FEMA has developed a two-step approach to helping individuals make necessary repairs to their homes. They will use the newly developed Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program in conjunction with the existing Individuals and Households Program (IHP) in order to keep individuals in their homes, therefore avoiding the need to find long term sheltering or housing solutions.

These programs can be accessed by individuals at the same time; participation in one does not preclude individuals from participating in the other.

“When Hurricane Sandy hit our state, New Yorkers saw their homes severely damaged or completely destroyed,” said Governor Cuomo.

“Now it is time to restore and rebuild these homes, and help people get back in their homes in time for winter. The FEMA assistance will make a big difference as we continue New York’s long term recovery. I thank FEMA for their continued partnership during this difficult time.”

"Governor Cuomo and I worked tirelessly with FEMA to develop these new innovative housing options, which along with financial assistance, will help residents rebuild their lives and homes," stated Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano.

Michael Byrne, Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA, added, “The solution is to get people back into their homes safely, alleviating the need for alternative shelters. We are going to do this with the STEP program. This is an emergency program intended to provide a temporary fix to allow people to live at home while they recover.”

The Individuals and Households Program provides assistance to individuals and households affected by a disaster to enable them to address necessary expenses and serious needs, which cannot be met through other forms of disaster assistance or insurance.

Forms of housing assistance under IHP include temporary housing, repair, replacement, and semi-permanent/permanent housing construction.

Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program enables families to remain in, or return to, their homes, as a form of shelter while permanent repairs are completed. 

The program consists of three distinct elements: Residential Electrical Meter Repair; Temporary Essential Electrical Measures; and Rapid Temporary Exterior Repairs.

Examples of eligible repairs include: patching windows or exterior doors, tarp on the roof, minor electrical work, and necessary inspections for habitability.

State and local governments are eligible applicants for direct federal assistance and/or reimbursement of eligible costs under the STEP program. 

Individual homeowners can then use FEMA traditional Individual Assistance to make permanent repairs to their homes.