President Obama has signed a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of New York, making federal assistance available to local counties that have been devastated by Sandy. Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk and Queens counties are now eligible for funding for temporary housing and home repair grants, low-cost loans for uninsured property loss and other relief and recovery assistance, and FEMA has been conducting damage surveys in other affected areas.

According to a press statement sent out by the White House, Obama, who previously declared a state of emergency for NY, also held a briefing on Hurricane Sandy in a video-teleconference today in which he commended first responders for their swift action and expressed his concern for all those affected by the storm. He affirmed that his relief team's top priority is to direct all available resources to the state and local responders who need them, and that a primary focus would be to restore power where lost.

Both Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie have praised the president for his assistance over the past few days. "I've spoken to President Obama twice yesterday. He is being incredibly cooperative," Cuomo said in his press conference this morning. "The president asked what was our major problem…the army corps of engineering is sending us their best team, they call it the national un-watering team…the national un-watering SWAT team is on its way to New York, and we need them very badly. FEMA has also set up a hotline for individual assistance."

And Christie, typically one of the president's major critics, called Obama's response "outstanding," saying he had been working with the president on a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey as well. "He worked on that last night with me…offered any other assets that we needed to help," Christie told ABC News. "I want to thank the president personally for his personal attention to this." The president will speak with local officials, mayors and governors later on today.