By Hilary Russ
(Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie renewed his calls to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to quickly pass the full $60.4 billion Superstorm Sandy relief package, saying victims in New Jersey had been short-changed.
During his state of the state remarks, Christie, a possible Republican presidential contender for 2016, called on lawmakers from eight states that received federal disaster funds for other emergencies to act on the legislation for victims of Sandy, mostly in New Jersey and New York.
Sandy slammed into the New Jersey and New York coasts on October 29, flooding homes, businesses and public infrastructure throughout the region.
On Friday, the Congress approved $9.7 billion in initial relief for victims of Sandy. But House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Christie's fellow Republican, canceled a vote on the full $60.4 billion aid package passed by the Senate, which would have followed a grueling fight over legislation to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of sweeping federal tax hikes and spending cuts.
Christie said the storm hurt New Jersey's economy just as it was recovering from the recession, but that the state was "stronger today than it has been in years."
"We are recovering and growing, not declining and descending," he said in prepared remarks.
On Monday, Democrats in the state Senate took aim at Christie, saying that even before Sandy hit, the state's flagging economy had barely budged during Christie's tenure despite his promises of a "New Jersey comeback."
(Reporting By Hilary Russ; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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