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. Absarokee

    Uhmmm...conspiracy theories abound and one is that Christie was on the high roll with the endorsements of the GOP candidate and criticism of the POTUS...until Sandy hit. Then it was behind the scenes arm twisting and behavior pattern expected if he wanted fed-endorsed assistance pronto, and how he became practically obtunded and irrelevant during the post-Sandy time frame.Everyone saw the photo-op and how tame he was, for a man of his character it was obvious someone had a "conversation" with the "big fella". Chicago politics being what they are, the rest is for a book to be written once the truth some day comes totally out.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Still waiting...

    Sooooo...does this mean Chris Christie will be the next Republican Gov'ner to jump ship?

    January 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. VEW2012

    It doesn't surprise me that Poehner would do such a thing...after all he is only beholden to the 1%. I do agree that Gov. Christie should consider switching parties. Look at who had his back when Sandy hit! It was people like the President and good hard-working middle class Ameicans like the bulk of the people in N. Jersey.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dreamer96

      No not switch parties....Christie should fight to change the GOP from the inside....We have already seen the moderate GOP members driven out of Congress....by the wacko extremist within....The midnight Goose steppers of the hall of Congress...

      If the GOP is to survive...The Good GOP members have to stand up to the Crazy members that have taken over the GOP Party, and return it to what is once was...

      January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Beantownace

    Show everyday tax payers like myself the entire bill put forth, what the home insurance companies are paying for and the states then let us be the judge. We are the ones going to pay for it.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeez Louise

    Why do things move so much faster and without hesitation when the US sends aid to other countries with

    January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beantownace

      we overspend everywhere that is why our generation is going to cause the generation of our kids to pay the price.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouMean

      You mean... Why does aid for bailout of big corporations pass so fast our heads spin? But when average joe needs aid...

      January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fernando

      Because most countries in need do not have registered US Democratic voters.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chedar888

    I finally have a lot of respect with this guy. He gives credit to people that is deserving and discredit to people that do not serve credit. He is one of the GOP i respect. Others are Huntsman and Bloomberg

    January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeninTexas

      Bloomberg is a jerk

      January 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scrod

      " He is one of the GOP i respect. " The last three days should have changed your mind. They've changed everyone else's mind. He's got to go, like a boil on our country's behind.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vijay

      Me too. Christie impress every democrat as well. He is the best example for all GOP'ers should follow. Kudos to him.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Albert Tanstaafl

    I feel sorry for those affected by the storm, I really do. But I should not have to pay for it.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • susan

      What??? You'll squeal like a stuck pig when you're the one in trouble – that's what being a citizen of a country means, we've got each others' backs.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dejavu65

      Why don't you zip it. This is America we help each other out in times of catastrophic natural disasters. Where you live could possibly be affected by a disaster and I guarantee you that you would gladly take federal assistance after you have just lost everything....Zip your lip!

      January 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scrod

      "Tanstaafl" If you understood TANSTAAFL, you'd know that you aren't getting anything free when we let other Americans go hang. Trouble in Jersey will mean trouble for you. One thing for sure, before this election I had a lot more respect for Libertarians. Sociopaths, the lot of you. Heinlein would be taking off his belt to whip you for saying we should save money by not rescuing storm victims.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Proud Lib

    Hey Crisco – It's okay to have your handout for cash when YOU need it, but you'd probably call it "pork" for anyone else. I have 2 words for you: Change Parties. The Republicans are a bunch of crazy nazis.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. UtahProf

    Boehner needs to go. In general, politicians had better start thinking for themselves. Why all of the moderates from both sides of the aisle do not bail out and form a dominant third party is beyond me.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. some guy

    It just shows how powerful the top 10% of the wealthiest americans are, their grip (its not influence anymore) over the republican party is frightfully disturbing.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mark

    Yeah, cuz THAT'S what you want Congress to do – make votes on emotional issues last minute, rather than thinking and debating them for a bit...

    Hey Christie – SHUT UP.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. uckermanf

    Bye, bye, Boehner.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • filids

      what short memories the NY/NJ Republicans have...they just announced that they are goning to vote for Boehner again, and he promices to allow a vote on Jan 15. Yea right, vote him back in first, then he will bring the vote before the House.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nvmature

    Another sign that the GOP is dysfunctional, hypocritical, and at war with itself. A house divided amongst itself can not stand.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SC

    Boehner was wrong for not bring the bill to the floor for a vote. He is just plain and simple, mean and hateful. It does not affect is family so he does not care about anyone else.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scrod

      "He is just plain and simple, mean and hateful." I hate him too, but I think the weeping man just cracked under the strain and panicked and ran, same as Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick or that crematorium guy who just put the bodies in the field. It was a long day and he's mentally unstable and weepy and he just started cursing, then left. Probably went to a bar, or out to the car for a snort.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Albert Tanstaafl

    Put a tax on extra large sodas in order to pay it off. Use some of A-Roid's salary.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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