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. Tay

    Everyone wants more money for some sort of aid. But no one wants to raise taxes on the middle and lower classes. How will 1 percent of the population going to support the other 75 percent. Fubar'd

    January 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MikeNY

    It really is a travesty. As Gov Chrisie states in his press conference, NY and NJ put FAR more money into the hands of the Federal Govt than they ever get out of it. Shame on Congress for not passing the disiater relief bill. I truly belive this may be one of the worst, if not the worst, Congress in history.

    January 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sal

    Wouldn't you distance yourself from the GOP base if you were considering a Presidential run?

    January 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shame

    Shame on Christy- haven't a drop of respect for the man. Has he been kicked out the party yet? and if not – why not?

    January 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rikka

    I dropped the Republican party 5 years ago because I could not reconcile what they swear is not elitism, racism, bullish behavior and political disgrace. I should not have to be so proud of Christie or King for standing up and doing and saying what's right. This should be standard. Hopefully more reps will move to the center based on how they can best serve the country they are paid by. The longer they stick to their outdated ideologies and hostage taking ways, the further they distance themselves from their base and all Independants like myself. Good job Christie and King. No, great job. Stay on that same path.

    January 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. helllo

    Global warming lol – you guillble idiots you believe anything. you sheep of the government mind numbed robots- is this the example you want to leave for your kids? let any con- scam artist on the street corner control your mind? think The 1938 hurricanne on LI killed hundreds, 1900 galvestton killed 8000 – hurricane camelle 1969 largesst ever to hit US – that was durig the coming ice ages. open you eyes – you fools

    January 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
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