Lawmakers paint grim picture of Sandy's destruction as Congress takes closer look at storm

Congress is taking its first hard look at the damage from Superstorm Sandy amid appeals for tens of billions of dollars in additional disaster assistance to rebuild from one of the most destructive storms ever to hit the Northeast.

Testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, lawmakers from states incurring the most damages painted a painted a grim picture of destruction from the late October storm that left 131 people dead.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, one of the hardest-hit states, said more than 300,000 homes were seriously damaged from New York City to the eastern tip of Long Island alone.

Congress, facing tight budget constraints with the fiscal cliff budget talks, seems to be in no mood to move quickly to approve additional spending.