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. Vijay

    Republican party needs to split into two Parties one is TEA party and other is People's Party.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scrod

      Already happened; they just haven't admitted it. Neither party can win an election without the other, as we just saw.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Albert Tanstaafl

    Try thinking about balance, equinimity, and reckoning. You become what you focus on, Sarah.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TheMovieFan

    Nice.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Richard

    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."

    King always seems to have done his homework. I guess since Kentucky is ranked as an average state in the education rankings, we cannot expect very much when it comes to intelligence from these representatives. I can see why the people keep voting in a not-so-intelligent congressman.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tiddyullin

    Chris Christe is a fat, bloated, greazeball!

    January 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. alvaro quesada

    I couldn't have said it better even if I tried!

    January 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joseph Brown

    It amuses me to watch the GOT tear itself apart. First they want to cut FEMA, but then when their own districts get hit they suddenly want money. Then Boehner flexes muscle and hurts his own people.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tom

    Gees it was only a matter of time before someone trotted this out. Give it a rest, Betty.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fred

    Please hurry on this vote!

    We have millionaires' beach houses at stake!

    Also we need corporate welfare to get these businesses back up and running – well those without flood insurance.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dreamer96

      GOP Congress member Trent Lott lost his home in Katrina and his insurance claim was denied....Even after decades of supporting the insurance industry..It seems Flood damage is not covered under a hurricane policy...only wind damage...Ha Ha...and Trent Lott did not have Flood insurance...But GWBUsh came to Lott's rescue, and raise private money to rebuild Lott's home....

      January 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      As if the only things that got destroyed are millionaire beaches houses right Fred?

      January 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. anony

    The GOP is imploding. Hah!
    This fighting among themselves is a sure sign. And inevitable.

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

    Obama is the best pres. since Harry S. Truman!

    January 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wayne

    Guess the GOP (Greedy Old Party) are waiting to see which of their big cronies can make the most off the aid before helping out the regular American citizen. Halliburton anyone?

    January 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gp

    How is that when disaster strikes in ANOTHER COUNTRY the US sends tons of disaster relief but they cant help our own people when we need it the most?

    January 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stryder

    haha! this was great 😀

    January 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. janice d

    Where's all of the relief money that was raised????

    January 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
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