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. Jerry Pelletier

    Only 8% of the money in the Sandy storm relief bill would actually go to the victims...Democrats and Republicans have so much pork loaded in that bill that the very people that need it will only see 8% of the total monies allotted...... Politicians should be ashamed of themselves for loading this bill up with pet projects and paybacks!....No wonder why congress cast this bill aside, it's just about worthless....

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

    This is a pathetic government with disgusting decision making ! and to see that they had hundreds of millions for non sandy related stuff is so like the backwards system we have and let idiots run !!

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

    "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," .........
    What is it going to do?

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

    Am I the only one thinking the last couple of months has caused Boehner's mind to crack? The Orange One needs to step down and buy a car dealership or something less stressful.

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

    whats the big deal. It was late and they tabled it until the next day? Christy is still going to get his fat tax burger.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Al

    CNN should make the proposal available for its viewers to read for themselves. So we can see how much "pork" is supposedly in it.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. j

    62 billion in aid? How much are insurers covering in the cost to rebuild? How much of the aid is for people who did not have proper insurance a responsible person would have purchased? How much for businesses that took the profits in thepast, but, want aid now? How much to politically connected?

    January 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alina77

    I bet Christie is thinking : "Na, It cant be because of that handshake I gave to Obama".

    January 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andy

    Chris Christie is just mad because he was planning to allocate $75 million of the money to stocking and staffing his personal 24/7 buffets at home and in the office for the next several years.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Beantownace

    GUESS WHAT PEOPLE 620 Billion is not going to put a dent in the 16 TRILLION dollar debt our country has. So before everyone starts bashing Republicans as a whole WE ARE NOT BLIND. Our generation is causing our kids generation to deal with a even larger issue that is actually pretty scary.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ghetto Girl

    Chris Christie just needs to face the fact that he is a Democrat.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • HincEtInde

      Hardly, but I think more and more Independents might go that way.....................

      January 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. carol123456

    You know, if it happened in a Southern State, they'd have already approved it.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. blake

    GOP to Christie: "shame on you". If you choose to run for president in 2016, you should change parties first.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John Bosshardt

    The greed of the Republican party is very evident and its self serving clique! The " DO NOTHING CONGRESS "need to cut their salaries by 90 percent and their salaries should be based on their approval rating. How else can we hold these people accountable on Capitol Hill when they vote for their own salaries increases!
    Their salaries need to be linked to job performance.
    I am sure most intelligent American people would agree with this.
    Thank you for your candor Mr Christie, it is nice to hear someone
    calling a spade what it is "A SPADE" .
    Let's now use the spade start getting rid of the B$ people on the Hill and get to work.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MDC

    People in need of help need to be helped. Are the Republicans not against government aid or it to be used as a crutch? Why ask for 60 Billion from the Government? But wait a minute, insurance companies? Anybody home at the insurance companies to help the NE folks.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
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