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. Mark

    boehner....they only people u hurt where Americans suffering in the tristate area

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

      So what, u guys voted for Obama,now deal with it.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      i voted for Romney.....i am a republican, a 1%er and i live near the shore.....many were hurt by this storm...there is no room for politics on this..period. Boehner should resign today if h could get this done>

      January 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    Christie is but one example of a republican that crows about the need to cut government spending, until the cuts strike close to home. Very easy to holler about cutting spending for what is important to someone else. Not so easy when it's your item on the chopping block.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tlwaddict

    Speaker Boehner did not take President Obama's call on election night. So why does Chris Christie think Boehner would take his call? This is payback for praising Obama. But the people will suffer for the hurt feelings. Pathetic.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      The Federal government should not be relied on

      January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Realist

    Cry Baby Christie- go be a democrat. You want to be voted in but you don't want the hard part of actually doing the work to run your state. The Federal government should not be relied on to do your work!!

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ShawnDH

    THIS JUST IN: The Teabaggers are demented, selfish, greedy, evil people.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PaulMN

    Everyone expects a government freebie. Suck it up... we can't afford it anymore.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DocB

    I find it entertaining when Republicans (who demand no "nanny state", shout "self-reliance", and want no federal government intervention) go begging the federal government for those very things and then get shutdown by their fellow Republicans in government.

    At least the Democrats are consistent.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mathpop

    lol shutup, chris christie actually seems to care about the citizens of the US

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. al

    And the republican self destruction continues. How can any republican support John Boehner? I don't care how party driven you are you would have to be either blind or just plain dumb to not see what a poor leader he is. In fact, the whole party is suffering from a lack of leadership and vision. I am an independent and have been for years and have supported many republicans in the past but after this last election and now this I just don't believe I am going to be able to do that any longer. They truly have become disgusting and uncaring people.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MaryAnn Schorfhaar

    Chris Christie needs to realize that the added "pork" by the Senate is what caused the bill not to be presented. It has nothing to do with selfish House Republicans or Democrats. Additionally, Chris Christie has such a close relationship with Obama, why doesn't he call him?

    January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Uh, because it's Congress that appropriates the funds, not the President. Take a lesson in civicx.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Todd

    Gov Christie should divert funds from his lunch budget to the Sandy relief fund. Looks like theres plenty there to take care of everyone

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PC

    If Christie and King were smart, they would renounce their affiliation with the Repubs and the tea nuts – they simply will never "get it" no matter who their leaders are.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bee

    Yes, it's time for Governor Christie to see the light and come over to the Democratic Party - the party of the people!

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ThinkingDeeper

    If it had been Boehner's district, the bill would have been voted on before the fiscal cliff bill.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Arley J

    Well, the most ineffective Congress in history had to live down to its name. Boehner really should explain this course of action to the people. I don't think anyone can rationalize this decision without some bit of insight.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
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