House Speaker John Boehner (Republican from Ohio) was harshly criticized by the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie (Republican) for the failure to vote on a relief bill for Hurricane Sandy.
“There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” he said. “This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Natural disasters happen in red states and blue states and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors. We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Or at least we did until last night. Last night, politics was placed before oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
The House Republicans did not schedule a vote for Tuesday night on the Sandy aid bill even after passing the fiscal cliff deal.
“Last night the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state,” said Christie. “Sixty-six days and counting — shame on you. Shame on Congress. Despite my anger and disappointment, my hope is that the good people in Congress — and there are good people in Congress — will prevail upon their colleagues to finally, finally put aside the politics and help our people now.”
In the Senate, an aid package of $60.4 billion was approved for recovery efforts in New York and New Jersey following the storm. A measure for $27 billion was approved by the House Appropriations Committee. Christie made sure to let the public know that he is not going to accept the smaller measure.
Christie also noted that he was not provided an explanation as to why the vote failed to occur on Tuesday night. He said that at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday night he received a call from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Republican from Virginia) saying that Boehner decided not to schedule a vote. The governor said he called Boehner four times and was never called back by the speaker.
“There is no reason for me to believe anything they tell me,” Christie said in reference to the House GOP.
Outrage ensued from lawmakers of both parties in the states affected the most by Sandy, New York and New Jersey. Rep. Peter King (Republican from New York), said, “I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds.”
Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat from New York) said, “I am angry because we were this close to getting this done. And the rug was pulled out from under us by the leadership in the House. The bottom line is very simple. Now we’re gonna have to start all over.”