(CNN) – Sitting side by side, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden sought to highlight the Empire State's continued recovery efforts Tuesday, roughly a year after Congress approved billions in aid for the state left badly bruised by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
At the event in Albany the governor gave a 25 minute presentation on the state's plans to redesign key infrastructure along the coastline, as well as create backup energy grids and new weather detection systems–all with the help of funds from the federal government.
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Cuomo–a potential rival for Biden if they both run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016–hailed New York's rebuilding efforts as innovative, and Biden labeled the state a model for the rest of the country in how to prepare for extreme weather in the future.
"I know there are global warmer deniers. I'm not going to get into that debate," Biden said. "But the reality is: This is going to continue to happen."
After a bitter fight on Capitol Hill last January that pitted some Republicans against their own party, Congress ultimately approved $60 billion in aid for the states affected by Sandy. President Barack Obama signed it into law.
"The vice president is joining us because…this wouldn't happen without the federal government and without their support," Cuomo said, also praising the Obama administration for cutting a lot off red tape in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
In his own remarks Tuesday, Biden alluded to the ugly battle in Congress.
"Sometimes our fellow colleagues and other parts of the country don't have the same empathy and sympathy for disasters that occur on the East Coast as we on the East Coast consistently have for disasters that happen in the Midwest and the far West," he said.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, also a possible 2016 candidate, has been at the forefront of issues related to Sandy recovery, and was one of the Republicans who blasted Washington last year for holding back the disaster relief funds.
Biden also responded to critics who argued government couldn't be trusted to handle that much money and still get the job done.
"Every independent organization, including the (Government Accountability Office) pointed out that less than one half of one percent resulted in waste or fraud," he said. "This can be done. And it must be done, because otherwise we're going to be left behind."
Both Biden and Cuomo said the country's infrastructure problems are keeping the United States from competing with other countries that are investing in newer technologies.
Also at the event, the two political figures exchanged plenty of praise.
Endorsing Cuomo's plans for redesigning much of New York's infrastructure, Biden told the governor, "You're not just leading in New York, you're leading the country."
"I think a lot of governors and a lot of folks could learn an awful lot from…what you do here," he continued.
While polls indicate Hillary Clinton would be the overwhelming frontrunner if she runs for president in 2016, a CNN/ORC International Poll conducted in November shows that if the former Secretary of State passes on a second White House bid, Biden would be the leading contender in the Democratic primary with 43%, with Cuomo coming in next at 15%. (Sen. Elizabeth Warren received 17% support, but she has since declared she will not pursue a presidential run in 2016.)