Tuesday night started off as a relief for Americans as the House voted yes to the deal passed by the Senate that averted going over the fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, the evening ended in puzzlement and disappointment over the Houses’ inaction to vote on a particular bill.
The bill was a $60 billion aid package for victims of Superstorm Sandy that was supposed to be voted on but nothing happened. On Wednesday, there is nothing but fury and anger coming from politicians from New Jersey and New York, as well as President Obama and Republicans, as they lash out regarding last night’s inaction. The targets were House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP-led House as they skipped out on a vote that would grant federal aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy.
It has been over sixty days since Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey. An enraged Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, put the blame on the “toxic” nature of Congress as well as the “palace intrigue” in Washington on Wednesday for the failure to help people that are suffering from Sandy since it made landfall in his state.
During a news conference in Trenton, Christie said, “There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their speaker, Rep. John Boehner. Folks are putting politics ahead of their responsibilities. New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are tired of being treated like second-class citizens.” He also said, “Shame on you. Shame on Congress.”
Christie, Republican Pete King of New York and other lawmakers have been using words such as “knife in our back,” “betrayal,” and “disgraceful” to describe their feelings over the inaction of the House Tuesday night. Even though Christie and other lawmakers were assured by Boehner and the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor that a vote regarding disaster aid would take place before the new year, the House left without having a vote.
One of Boehner’s spokesmen, Michael Steel, has told USA Today that “the speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month.” The speaker is said to be meeting this afternoon with members of New Jersey and New York congressional delegations. However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Christie and Obama are united and in agreement in seeking a vote as soon as possible.
Obama said in a statement that, “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.” He also stressed that there are people who “need immediate support with the bulk of winter in front of us.” The president added: “When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need.”
With everything that has been said over the inaction of the House Tuesday evening, it should come as no surprise that Boehner has told New Jersey and New York lawmakers that the House will vote on $9 billion in food insurance for states that have been devastated by Sandy on Friday.
Though Boehner and the House are trying to rectify the mistake they made Tuesday evening, many are left wondering if the damage has been done within the Republican Party after their own Republican members have made comments like Republican Pete King of New York who said in an CNN interview that, “Turning your back on people who are starving and freezing is not a Republican value.”
GOP Skips Vote on Hurricane Sandy Aid
Hurricane Sandy Aid: Lawmakers Erupt In Anger After House Fails To Vote On Relief Bill.