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. kevininjc

    Boehner help out the Northeast, liberal, Obama-voting section of the United States? You have to be kidding.

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

      Boehner doesn't care much, he's likely out the door as SOTH so he'll let the next guy worry about it, maybe Eric Cantor or Paul Ryan.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dan

    How dare a blue state ask for red-state welfare dollars, the arrogance. Everyone learns in "DC Pork Physics 101" that federal money flows OUT of blue states and INTO red states.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. are122

    Chris Christie says he doesn't know why House Speaker John Boehner didn't allow a vote <~~~ Well, if Christie doesn't know, why is he opening his big mouth? This whole current government is dysfunctional.

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

      SELECTIVELY dysfunctional. They choose to do/not do things that would be productive to make things painful for people they don't like. As useless as the bill was to avoid "the cliff" I'm still amazed anything was agreed upon.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BT Richards

    Cut the deficit! Slash spending! big government is the root of evil!
    OOPS, my district needs money... GIMME GIMMIE GIMME

    Typical GOP action.....

    January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keebler Elf

    Christie is just mad the Oreo factory near him hasn't started back up and he wants the money NOW.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. luke

    gov. criste speaks for the people jump partry and be our next PRESIDENT in2016

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


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

      Pardon my last spelling...the NEXT PRES. will be another NI–er!!!

      January 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheZel

    That's OK... next time one of those hayseed Red states needs disaster money, I say we let them dry up and blow away. Less government spending for those.

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

      Disagree. While, as a New Yorker, I am appauled and saddened by this, I would never withhold funding for those that are suffering and in need just to make a political point.

      On the contrary, I'd go so far as to call my representatives and let them know that they need to act quickly and decisively to provide funding to those that are in need because we know first hand just how terrible these disasters can be.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Julio

    GOPers are crazy. A whole bunch of obstructionists that allow their leaders to actually destroy the country but when good things that can be put forth by Democratic presidency that are party neutral, nothing gets done. Shame on the GOP, none of you trolls have anything good to say about your party, all you can do is make excuses. Yes very shameful, this country used to be great before Bush destroyed it. I feel bad for Obama, and as a black person, i just wish he was white so these people in congress can get themselves together and get something done for the people of America. There's no reason in the world a President should have this much trouble with congress while being very centrist. Its not right at all.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tiddywaggin

    and I alone live to tell the tale....the rich will survive in this country and the morons shall perish! That is the way God intended it to be!

    January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jg51

    John Boehner should be forced to resign effective immediately. This man is punishing the victims of Hurricane Sandy because he feels rebuked by his fellow Republicans over the fiscal cliff mess. I hope the backlash from the affected tri-state area politicians sends a very strong message to Congress. It's beyond comphrension that our government is always able to provide aid to foreign countries when they suffer a disaster, but isn't able to do the same for its own citizens.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. roy

    I honestly can't believe Gov Christie expected Boehner to do something who does he think he is. If this was an issue affecting Wall Street or the Pentagon Boehber would have presented himself front and center.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard

    Republicans aren't stupid. I'm sure they know this does not look good for them, it makes them look like a weak, divided party. But maybe that's what they want? Maybe they are going to go with it. Maybe over the next year we will see a lot of banter between Christie and the GOP, then I bet we will see the GOP "warm-up" to Christie, then I bet we will see Christi as the new leader of the GOP, a member who is bi-partisan and can be supported by both sides. . That is what they want, and if they are smart, that is how they will play it all the way to the 2016 elections!

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

      Rest assured that the people in the affected communities now damn well why it's been 9 weeks waiting to get aid, and aid for other natural disasters like Katrina only took days to pass congress.

      There are many angry people who are not going to forget why they're still waiting on federal relief funding.

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

      Your right, the people in those states won't forget that they were used and left on their own. They should be very angry with the GOP.. but then do you really think the GOP cares if blue states are mad at them or if people in the blue states remember? They weren't getting that vote anyway, and that's all the GOP seems to care about, power and how to keep it!

      January 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. M I Snow

    It was a schedule conflict with his tanning sessions...

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

      Or with his drinking sessions at the local bar. Its common knowledge in DC that the man is a two bit drunk.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TomGI

    Boehner knows he's done as SOTH so he really doesn't care what his "GOP" colleagues think about him.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anne

    It's the job of the State and Municipalities to take care of this Christi. Didn't you have insurance? Rainy day fund? Didn't the homeowners? Get out the NJ checkbook, take some responsibility.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lar5

      I guess that does not apply to the southern states who were hit by Katrina. Only the hated North East

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