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. Andrew

    Um – so, a Republican is relying upon help from the Federal Government....but isn't the Republican platform, (and I am grossly distilling this) in part to stop reliance on the Federal Governmnet....halt food stamps, welfare.....mental health coverage, etc, etc. I'm just slightly confused – it's different if the issue is cause by weather? If so, then the Republicans would be ok with asking for health coverage for those that got ill during the storm...?

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

      Yes, you are confused. The Republicans never said they wanted to do away with Welfare, food stamps, etc. You watched too many propaganda commercials during the election.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kay

    This is nothing more than a bunch of grandstanding in front of the media. Earlier in the week the FEMA dept. said there is still 6 billion in the FEMA account for Sandy recovery. They also said that money wouldn't be spent for another 6 months. So the urgency is not an urgency! And where do they get 60 billion needed as in this bill? I would love to know who makes up these numbers. They picked that amount before any assessments were made of the damage. Then they put other fringe benefits in the bill that had nothing to do with the storm and for States not even on the same coast. Waste. It will never stop.

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

      Well CNN is apparently trying to be the counter to Fox by being biased in the other direction. So any information that can be written to look damaging to the Republican party will be published.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christi turncoat

    Hey Christi, why don't you get your new found friend Obama to give you some of the Seven million he's spending to go to Hawaii?

    January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • rtr

      The republicans don't care about America, they have given our money away to their friends overseas.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • woodie

      Obama is the only one in Washington who earned a vacation. Nobody else up there is working.

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

      Christi isn't toeing the party line...instead he is REPRESENTING HIS PEOPLE.....good for him!

      January 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peeribes

      All presidents have had expensive vacations. What did your comment have to do with the house not voting? You are an idiot.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chaz

      GOP stupidity in a nutshell. Boehner, Cantor and the rest of the losers will sink the party. Obama has been willing to compromise for four years and the Repubs have stymied all his efforts. They better smarten the f up if they want to be relevant during the next four years.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomGI

      AF1 operates on an Air Force budget program. They stay within budget every year. They plan out a whole year of flights with Secret Service and the Air Force. Obama doesn't just spend money for a flight on a whim unless it involves an emergency.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • cronman

      60 Billion for storm relief... its ridiculous.. if 60K families are affected in this storm, this amount means a 1 million per family...
      what about the home owners and other kind of insurances for businesses?? If households only need to pay deductibles on these insurances I dont think they would need 1 million per family...

      January 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • susan

      What are you talking about folly? Bush spent the most times in vacations and he also the most expensive vacations presidents in the US history. Currently, he spends $$80k per year just on his cell phones and you & I have to pay for it. Read more before you spew your ignorant in the public.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Darryl

    He helps Obama get re-elected and he's surprised that it's pay back time from the Republicans. He's not very brigth is he?

    January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darryl

      Apparently I can't even spell "bright", so maybe I'm not either.

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

      so republicans use the american people to pay him back? sure sounds like they love this country, right?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      Guess Republicans think that imposing suffering on Americans is "pay back" .... I'm not surprised.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • speller

      Respect for calling yourself out on that spelling mix-up.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      lol, good one.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • San

      Ha! Ha! Way to take responsibility! If only our politicians could follow your humble example.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne P

      Thanks for driving home the point that the GOP is not about the American people; only about themselves. They need to be gone.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |

    Hey could help his own people out if he skipped a meal or two.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      Skipped a week or two of meals.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave Rogers

    What you did Governor by giving Obama a photo after the storm was disgraceful ..

    January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mattski

      It's really disgraceful when political posturing is more important than genuine governance.

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

      All of you who blame or use this article to slam President Obama, are the problem, you must be Tea Party Repubicans.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sam Houston

    Why should Mr. Christie (or anyone else for that matter) believe any assurance given by a politician. Is he not a politician? Does he not know what politics is all about? Why do so many people try to fool themselves into thinking that selfish humans will solve the world's problems? Whether any person believes it or not, it is painfully clear that no HUMAN will solve theWhy world's problems. Why not investigate the Bible's solution?

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

      The BIBLE's solution's. ROFL.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dean

    Does the government have to pay for everything now? What happened to home owners insurance? What happened to flood insurance? Don't corporations and companies have insurance on their businesses?

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

      the relief goes to infrastructure repairs.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bo

      Seriously, do you actually think the money is only for homes? There are roads, schools, public transit, septic systems, water treatment ,infrastructure, etc.,. that must be rebuilt. There is no insurance for those items. That is the governments job, ie,local, state and federal and , in the past, they have ALL worked hand in hand during a recovery.

      It always amazes me how narrow minded and short sighted people are in the wake of someone else's disaster. I'd like to hear your weeping and groaning when it happens to you. Or will you say "I built it, I'll do it all by myself"....yeah, right, you'll be crying like a baby.

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

    NOT as powerful as Peter King ..............But it will have to do .

    January 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chronos

    Sending that desperately needed $60 billion aid package to victims of the Sandy Superstorm should have been a no-brainer; it would have happened if there were no-Boehner.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • NMEast

      Only $47.5 Billion was for the Sandy relief efforts, the rest was pork inserted by sleaze bag Senators to get their own greedy paws on American taxpayer money, all under the guise of helping the Sandy victims. I'm glad the Repubs or Dems, whichever, didn't vote on this. If it's being billed as relief for the Sandy victims, it shouldn't cover ANYTHING else. Let those others introduce their own bills if they want money.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      It should be that simple, but they added things like tree research and other crazy things into the bill that made it full of waste for states that had nothing to do with Sandy. The Republicans will not ok a bill that has a lot of money in it that is not for the Sandy recovery.This is always what happens. Half the money for aid in these bills ends up being for pet projects.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BigDrop

    He's out of line here, but NJ is MUCH better shape than it was before he got there.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      You still go to the most ridiculous lengths to defend the GOP no matter what they do.
      Clueless...brainwashed....uneducated.....or just plain nasty and spiteful.
      We just aren't sure anymore.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bo

      I'll pick "D": All of te above.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    lots of disturbed people comment here.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amazed

      ... reminds me of an aircraft spoiler ... it's sole purpose when raised, is to reduce lift and increase drag.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert


      January 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DB

    Shut up, Chris. You spent all that time joining Boehner in his party's single-minded effort to destroy Obama's legacy at any cost. You even showed up at their national convention to be a part of that effort. Well, this is the collateral damage. Simply by being a Republican, you have contributed to the misery of your state.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • CARL

      What a comment. Did Christie somehow step on your toes?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • susan

      I doubt Christie really concern his people, what he wants is the re-election. Look how he screw the state, robbed the middle class to support the rich. The NJ bridge toll is $12 for one way, the public schools are broke. Once he's a republican he's always a republican who only concerns about the rich.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. johnpm

    Shame on Boehner. That is funny. The teflon President has gotten away with another one. Bush got slammed for Katrina. Obama made a stop for a photo OP with Christie during the election and has done nothing else. If Bush got blamed...Obama should get blamed.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      It's pointless to blame Obama for anything wrong because the race card issue will save him from scrutiny, and he knows this.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Bush got slammed becasue he was slow in reacting and did nothing, atleast President Obama made quick actions and got the ball rolling to help.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • San

      Kay, does that mean you are a bigot, since we are making generalizations?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bo

      Why should Obama be blamed? He sent in FEMA immediately. He worked together with both governors in NJ and NY when Sandy struck. The people behind the delay in Sandy Funding is due to the House, and in particular, Boehner.

      Obama doesn't vote in either House or Senate. Bush, on the other hand, sat on his hands for sometime before FEMA was even sent in. Case closed on that one. I wish people would really clue themselves in to how government actually works and who does what. Much of what any president gets blamed for have more to do with the members of Congress than any one person.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Skipjack

    Help me understand something. Let's say my city block burns down. This actually occurs from time to time around the country. Houses and businesses are gone and lives are forever altered. The Feds likely won't ride to the rescue and insurance will pick up the tab. No doubt this is a bigger situation however isn't it really the same?

    January 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomGI

      Not really because the Fed/State is being asked to rebuild infrastructure like roads, water lines, sewage lines, phone/electric lines, temporary housing, etc. State wants a loan/grant guarantee before commencing work. If covered, the homeowners Insurance will re-build a house but if the road and all the other stuff is wiped out there is nothing to build the house on. These are things the hardline GOP wants to prevent and therefore no vote. Some of these neighborhoods may be condemned and unfit to rebuild and the State has to decide so the insurance company can settle. This does not happen in a vacuum and requires funds for surveys and damage assessment decisions. It takes bucks to do it.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skipjack

      Good point Tom. I'm ok w/ helping on rebuilding infrastructure so long as it's a) not ridden with pork b) hooked to some silly law like Davis Bacon c) There are no diversity spend requirements. The work needs to be done as inexpensively as possible

      January 3, 2013 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
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