Fresh from being the big man on late night television, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday focused his ire on the National Flood Insurance Program and its slow rate of resolving claims from Superstorm Sandy.
Christie, a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, has taken a hard line in trying to secure federal aid for his state in the wake of the storm that hit the Northeast in October. At a meeting in Union Beach, N.J., Christie criticized the federal program that he said has been too slow and plagued by excessive paperwork and bureaucratic delays.
“I've been as patient as I'm going to be with the National Flood Insurance Program,” Christie said. “They need to get more people into New Jersey, they need to get to work, they need to get to processing these things. People need to know how much money they're going to have.”
In a prepared statement, Christie said he would seek to have the state’s congressional delegation use its influence to pressure the federal government to move faster.
“Sandy brought unprecedented devastation in excess of $37 billion to our state, including widespread damage and destruction to personal property and businesses. As we continue the process of rebuilding our homes and businesses, it is imperative that insurance claims be brought to final resolution so that residents can make critical decisions on if and how to rebuild,” Christie said in the statement.
“Today, I am seeking changes needed to improve the complaint and resolution process to make it faster and more efficient so that residents -- homeowners and businesses alike -- that have responsibly paid their premiums and have rightfully covered damage claims are treated fairly and speedily by the NFIP process, including claims dispute, settlement and resolution. Only by concluding this process and getting claims paid out can our residents and businesses be fully informed with the answers they need to make their decisions about rebuilding,” he said.
Polls show that Christie is the heavy favorite in his bid to be reelected governor this year. Christie, whose pugnacious charm has won over voters from across the political spectrum, has an approval rating of about 70%.
In addition to winning over his political opponents, Christie has often found himself the butt of fat jokes, poking fun at his girth. Never one to shirk from a fight, Christie is not afraid to bite the media hand that feeds him, as he made clear Monday night in an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
As Letterman drawled through a long introduction, Christie began chomping on a doughnut to make the humorous point that he liked to eat ... a lot and often.
Both men then laughed at the sight gag.
Christie has said he is not bothered by jokes about his weight and maintains he is in good health with cholesterol and blood sugar numbers under control.