January 2nd, 2013
02:22 PM ET

'Shame on Congress,' Christie says after House drops Sandy vote

[Update 3:57 p.m.] U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has assured lawmakers that the House will vote on $60 billion in aid related to Superstorm Sandy by January 15, a group of lawmakers from New York and New Jersey told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

[Initial post, 2:22 p.m.] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he doesn't know why House Speaker John Boehner didn't allow a vote on a $60 billion aid package to help Superstorm Sandy victims Tuesday or Wednesday, but he's steamed about it.

"There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering" of Sandy victims, and that's Boehner and the House Republican leadership, Christie told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“Shame on you. Shame on Congress,” Christie, a Republican, said.

Christie is just one of many New Jersey and New York politicians upset that the House did not consider the aid proposal on the final two full days of the 112th Congress. A new Congress will be sworn in on Thursday. The Senate had passed a bill that would have provided billions of dollars in aid to victims, but the process will begin anew with the new Congress.

Sandy killed at least 113 people in the U.S. and left millions of people without power after running up the East Coast in late October. The storm hit hardest in New York and New Jersey.

Christie said he was given assurances that the House would consider the package after it dealt with the fiscal cliff deal that it passed Tuesday night. But late Tuesday, he said, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told him that the "authority for the (Sandy) vote was pulled by the speaker."

Christie said he then "called the speaker four times last night, and he didn’t take my calls."

"Every day that we don’t begin to get this aid are days that we can’t get people back in their homes, get businesses reopened. ... It’s absolutely disgraceful,” Christie said.

Getting the fiscal cliff deal passed in the House undoubtedly held up the relief measure, and many conservative House Republicans opposed the size of the Senate bill. Some said there were many unrelated provisions in it for items that were not emergency needs.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, told reporters off the House floor late Tuesday that "leadership was all-consumed with the cliff procedure ... and they really have not had the time to devote to this because of that."

Up until Tuesday night, GOP leaders were working toward a plan of splitting up the vote into two measures: one providing $27 billion for immediate needs and another amendment offering $33 billion for longer-term recovery efforts.

Rogers said he was ready to move his scaled-back bill but did not give a timetable for the vote in the next Congress.

"FEMA has plenty of money, there's no immediate needs," he said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who also is upset that the House didn't vote on the package, told CNN Wednesday that Rogers "doesn't know what he's talking about."

"The FEMA money is not going to rebuild businesses, that's not going to provide food and shelter, and it's not going to reimburse the local governments," he said.

The bill included grant funding for owners of homes and businesses, as well as funding for public improvement projects on the electric grid, hospitals and transit systems to prevent damage from future storms.

King called the House leadership's move a "knife in the back." Boehner did not immediately respond publicly to King's assertions.

Michael Steel, Boehner's spokesman, said the speaker is "committed to getting this bill passed this month."

soundoff (562 Responses)
  1. cincinnatidavid

    Maybe we Ohioans will at last begin to see how hollow this man Boehner really is.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. KNOWITALL

    One big, fat rat trying to leave a sinking ship.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. danny

    Maybe Christie's ass kissing of and praising of Obama a couple of days before the election did not impress the speaker that much.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darn skippy!

      Danny, I'm sure you're very smart. Just kidding, not really.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cw

      And perhaps Boehner could rise above petty politics. Probably too much to ask.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • honeyc

      Maybe Christie doesn't realize yet that they aren't giving up the land that easy, FYI, they want the land, how the heck did that hurricane steer itself there? To get the land, coming to a city near you

      January 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonquil

      That would petty, if it were true. It's also sad to hear that the people in control of our Nation's purse strings, don't even understand how FEMA works and how a response is financed.

      "...get to it this month..."? A few more weeks of people living in moldy homes and small businesses not opening, then, Republicans?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    That what they get for putting Bonehead back in charge.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      I agree. Boehner should be thrown out. Can't believe Republicans kept him.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    Some of the comments on here are funny. People still find a way to back the GOP even when those fighting are all GOP........Christie and King are right. This congress does not care about the people. They only want to see Obama fail. People of NY and NJ are going to suffer because their leaders worked well with Obama.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkingDeeper

      I am NOT a Christie fan. But I believe it is an accurate observation about Congress. They don't care about how the people are hurt as long as they can make Obama look bad. Why have they made it their main goal to make Obama look bad instead of helping the citizens?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darn skippy!

      Both sides are guilty of this.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. adamcoasttocoast

    Boenher drops the ball again? SHOCKING!

    January 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      And what about Boehner actions surprises you! Hope the rank and file will vote him OUT tomorrow.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Li

    I can't help it: I like Chris Christie.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • kent

      Chris Christie is setting him self up too run in 2016 . The GOP may hate him now but they will love him wining in 2016 i think Chris Christie is the guy who is going to take the GOP from the far right back to the mid part of the road !

      January 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Darn skippy!

    NY and NJ deserve about 10,000 FEMA trailers just like Katrina babies got. Allow the trailers to be there for at least 4 years and don't ask people to pay a dime. After all, it is the governments responsibility to care for all people all the time with no personal responsibility necessary.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkingDeeper

      Not sure what you meant by "personal responsibility." Katrina and Sandy's victims were not responsible for the hurricanes. If your point is that Katrina victims got questionable treatment with those questionable trailers then I agree. But many of Katrina's victims were among the poorest and they did need help when insurance doesn't cover the damage. Let's be honest, the government's reaction to the Katrina disaster was a disaster in itself. Does that mean the government should make the same mistakes to the victims of Sandy?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darn skippy!

      They were not responsible for the hurricanes, no, but they were certainly responsible for where on this planet they chose to reside. With each location there are inherent risks and benefits. Big risk when you live on a beach or below sea level is flooding. When that occurs, your life, your responsibility. Children, elderly, hospitalized, different story...but a grown adult with functioning legs and arms...cowboy up and take care of your damn self. The Fed gov't does have a responsibility to help coordinate some response in a major disaster like Sandy or Katrina but the biggest mistake by the Gov't in katrina was doing TOO much and it looks like people wants that for Sandy too. Questionable trailers...when the "help" is free you get what you get and like it.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Albert Tanstaafl

    Don't people and businesses have insurance? Do they expect the American taxpayer to pay because a storm hit their beach house? I believe in giving, helping and charity causes, but why does it seem like getting a payout from the Government (our tax dolllars) is a supreme right? Oh, I just ran a check on the demographics. Blue state area. I get it.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      you would feel very differently if it happened to you...

      January 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • macy

      Most of the homes destryoed were peoples primary homes, not "summer Beach houses". Many people with insurance are getting the royal run around from the insurance comapnies. These are people still trying to lie in houses full of dirt, mold and no heat! give me a brak people. Many of these homes have been ther for half a century. This was a storm with a magnitude not seen in most of our lifetimes.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkingDeeper

      It is hard for the general citizenry to plan for a mega-disaster like Superstorm Sandy. When such an event like Sandy occurs, affecting multiple states, then it is the Federal Government's duty to become involved including coordinating response.
      Insurance companies don't like paying for such disasters, even when there's proper coverage; sometimes the courts have to get involved. During the time between the disaster and the courts forcing the insurance companies to pay what is owed what do you expect the people to do? Live on the streets?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • nodrama4mama

      I have family members who had both homeowners and flood insurance. The Homeowners insurance tells them they won't cover a bunch of the damage b/c it was a flood and the flood insurance won't cover because it tells them it was a tornado. My relatives paid tens of thousands of dollars over decades and now when they need it are not getting the help needed. And also, watch their premiums double and triple.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ThinkingDeeper

    And concerning the Republicans wanting to cut expenditures - put the Superstorm Sandy bill up for a vote in the House and see how the Congressmen debate then vote.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Coffee Party

    It's true that that GOP forgot Sandy's victims, but in all fairness they should be given credit for fighting to the end for the rights of the top 1%. The richest of the richest are people too!

    January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud_Republican

      Actually, the rich,whom you despise so much are the economic engines and the reason for the country to enjoy its freedoms and lifestyle. The poor are actually simply leaches who have been sucking blood for too long.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    One nation under God? A kinder gentler nation? The greatest democracy on earth? How bout united we stand, divided we fall??? What a screwed society.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Elliotu

    Governor Christie needs to know that the initials of the Republican party are about to be changed from the GOP to the GOTP. The latter being the Grand Old Tea Party.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Audrey wottrich

    What an idiotic remark!! I assume you have a roof over your head!! It's morons like you that give the GOP such a bad name! Do you even know anything about anything??

    January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • guido

      I decided a long time ago during the bush years and his leis about Irak not to vote for any GOP candidates, and I have been confirmed that my decision was and is a good one. I radder not vote at all. These party is totally out of touch, these morning some GOP house member was on CNN, listening to him talking about the fiscal cliff the president and the coming up dead sealing, almost made my breakfast come up. GOP-NO,NO

      January 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • s kel

      and you need to listen to the message republican!

      January 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      Believe me the GOP doesn't need any help in that field. They do a good job all on their own.

      January 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Will

    The GOP sticking it to Northerners.

    Enjoy being America's answer to the Bloc Quebecois - a regional party that represents trashy Southern red necks and nobody else.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
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