Anger After House Skips Sandy Aid Bill Vote
There’s a lot of anger on Capitol Hill over an issue having nothing to do with the fiscal cliff. A bill to provide emergency funding for Superstorm Sandy relief won’t be voted on by this Congress, though some movement is expected soon.
FOX News Radio’s Jared Halpern reports from Capitol Hill:
A plan to consider a disaster relief bill after the fiscal cliff vote was scrapped, sparking outrage from Republicans in hard-hit states.
(Christie) “It was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Congressman Michael Grimm blaming House Speaker Boehner.
(Rep. Grimm) “It’s an indefensible error in judgement on behalf of the Speaker.”
After a meeting between Boehner and Northeast lawmakers, votes are now set: Friday, the House will consider a $9 billion flood insurance program; On January 15th, a $51 billion package will be debated.
On Capitol Hill, Jared Halpern, FOX News Radio.
LISTEN to NJ Gov. Chris Christie deliver a sharp rebuke of Congress over the delay in the Sandy aid package:
LISTEN to Republican and Democratic Congressmen and Congresswomen speak on the Sandy relief bill on the House floor:
WATCH for more on this story:
President Obama calls on the House to finish one last important bit of business, a Hurricane Sandy relief package.
FOX News Radio’s Mike Majchrowitz reports from the White House:
From his vacation home in Hawaii, President Obama joined members of Congress and Governors who have excoriated House Republicans for not holding a vote on a $60 billion Senate passed Hurricane Sandy relief bill. In a statement the President said the House has refused to act as families and communities still need help. The President writes “when tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need.” He urges a vote on the measure today.
At the White House, Mike Majchrowitz, FOX News Radio.
READ a statement by the President on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill:
“It has only been two months since Hurricane Sandy devastated communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as other eastern states. Our citizens are still trying to put their lives back together. Our states are still trying to rebuild vital infrastructure. And so, last month, working closely with the Governors of the affected states, I sent Congress an urgent request to support their efforts to rebuild and recover. The Senate passed this request with bipartisan support. But the House of Representatives has refused to act, even as there are families and communities who still need our help to rebuild in the months and years ahead, and who also still need immediate support with the bulk of winter still in front of us.
When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need. I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.”
READ a joint statement from New York Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Christe on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill:
“With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable. It has now been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit and 27 days since President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bi-partisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor. This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented. The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.
The people of our states can no long afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games.”
READ a statement from U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill:
“As many Republicans said on the House floor last night, what House leadership did last night by turning its back on families still suffering from Hurricane Sandy was indefensible and shameful. Speaker Boehner should come to Staten Island and tell families trying to rebuild their businesses why they need to wait longer for help. He should come to the Rockaways and tell families trying to rebuild their homes why they need to wait longer for help. But I doubt he has the dignity nor the guts to do it. Speaker Boehner should call his members back for an up or down vote today and allow them to vote their consciences, anything less is an insult to New York.”
READ a statement from Rep. Eliot Engel on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill:
“I’ve been a Member of Congress since 1989 and I have never been angrier than I am right now. It is unfathomable that the Speaker is not bringing a bill to a vote to help the people of New York, New Jersey, and the other surrounding states affected by the absolute devastation suffered after Hurricane Sandy. People lost their lives. People lost their homes. Entire neighborhoods were completely altered. Democrats and Republicans were affected. I cannot believe Republican Leadership has forgotten the main purpose of public service – to protect and help the American people. It is especially disappointing considering the House leadership made a commitment to bring the bill up before we adjourned. There is still time for them to change their minds. We can vote on this anytime in the next day and a half. The people of New York deserve better treatment than this.”
READ a statement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the new schedule for Sandy relief votes:
“Though it is good news that Republicans have announced their intention to bring up partial legislation covering $9 billion in Hurricane Sandy relief this Friday, it still leaves more than 80 percent of the region’s emergency needs unmet. Once again, the Republican leadership of the House has committed to putting forward another Sandy relief aid package in mid-January. We only hope that a large number of House Republicans join the large majority of Democrats in passing this critical legislation. Already, this marks one of the longest delays in congressional action in response to a major natural disaster in recent memory. The families, businesses, and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy deserve better.”