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Outrageous: House GOP leaders block vote on Sandy relief

House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor would be well advised to stay away from New York and New Jersey until further notice.

HERE‘s why:

The House of Representatives adjourned on Tuesday night without acting on a $60 billion superstorm Sandy disaster aid bill, prompting angry denunciations from members from the states hardest hit by the storm.

The GOP leadership was criticized for what one Republican called a “personal betrayal” after it was decided that the bill would not be considered until the 113th Congress, which convenes at noon on Thursday.

The current session of the House comes to an end officially on Wednesday after the new Congress elected in November gets sworn in. Legislation does not carry over from session to session, so consideration of an aid bill would have to start all over if, as expected, nothing is scheduled before then…

[Several lawmakers] pleaded with the Republican leaders of the House to rethink the decision, but few were in the chamber to listen. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia are in charge of scheduling the House.

“For the Speaker to just walk out is inexcusable,” Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, told reporters. “It’s wrong and I’m saying that as a member of the Republican Party.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Boehner said: “The Speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month.” That assurance was not enough for the members who have districts that were affected by Sandy.

“I feel it is a personal betrayal,” said Representative Michael Grimm, a New York Republican. “But I think more importantly, when you parse out all the politics, the people of this country that have been devastated are looking at this as a betrayal by the Congress and by the nation, and that is just untenable and unforgivable.”

A bipartisan group of eight lawmakers gathered after protesting the move on the House floor after the House voted late Tuesday night to pass a bill to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.

UPDATE: There’s more HERE:

President Barack Obama demanded on Wednesday that Republicans hold a vote on $60 billion in funding for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, which was set to be approved Tuesday night before House Speaker John Boehner suddenly took the bill off the table amid acrimonious talks on the nation’s fiscal situation.

“It has been only two months since Hurricane Sandy devastated communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as other eastern states,” Obama’s prepared statement explained. “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 president added: “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.”

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5 Comments

  1. There is more on this here:

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/02/politics/house-sandy-aid-vote/

    He added that he was chasing Boehner “all over the House last night” and that Boehner had said everything would be taken care of after the vote on the fiscal cliff. But Boehner left.

    “He wouldn’t tell us why. He just decided to sneak off in the dark of night.”

    King called the House leadership’s move a “knife in the back.”

    Boehner did not immediately respond publicly to King’s assertions.

    But a senior GOP leadership aide said Boehner will make the package “his first priority in the new Congress,” which begins its term Thursday.

    When a new Congress begins, both chambers have to begin from scratch with legislation, so the Senate’s passage of a previous bill will be moot.

    Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, said the speaker is “committed to getting this bill passed this month.”

    House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, said some aid will be approved in the next Congress.

    “FEMA has plenty of money, there’s no immediate needs,” he said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    “FEMA has enough money to last until at least late February-March anyway.”

    King, in the CNN interview, said 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 tumultuous process of 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.

    “Leadership was all-consumed with the cliff procedure,” Rogers told reporters off the House floor late Tuesday. “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.

  2. From what I can gather the Sandy hubbub is getting very interesting. The focus is on Boehner not getting a vote done last night but that isn’t even the real problem. That money isn’t needed emergently and will be available soon.

    It really seems like FEMA has failed again.

    The media is enraged about Boehner’s failure yet nary a word about the President’s role in the failure of his own disaster relief agency. Nothing like the ire that was focused on Bush during Katrina.
    I wonder why the difference?

  3. Brian Opsahl

    Really doc…it is the republicans that block everything,and you can’t see why ?
    After what Governor Cristy said about your Boehner it’s pretty clear who the problem is and do you think for a second that if it was the President getting in his way he wouldn’t be slamming him…really doc your not smart enought to that…what are you a foot Doctor or something…?

  4. No, I don’t really like the foot so much.

    You never even considered my point. I distinctly remember FEMA/Bush taking many lashings for Katrina for years after the event, probably somewhat deserved. Where is the similar excoriation of FEMA/Obama today.

    The Republicans haven’t “blocked” the bill. They are apparently passing part of it Friday and the rest later.

    Could it be the Senate bill contained a bunch of unnecessary pork that the Speaker wants out of it?

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/christie-craving-pork-filled-sandy-bill_693530.html

    But one of the big objections to the bill was that Senate Democrats had filled it with pork.

    In fact, “Democrats expanded the legislation during a mark-up to include not just areas affected by Sandy, but also to provide money for ‘storm events that occurred in 2012 along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast within the boundaries of the North Atlantic and Mississippi Valley divisions of the Corps that were affected by Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac,'” we reported previously.

    The expansion of the bill was a way to provide a financial incentive for senators from red states–“two Republicans senators from Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, and the one Republican senator from Louisiana”–to vote for the bill. “The Sandy kickbacks provide an incentive for those Republicans to vote on the bill,” we wrote.

    It is true that the Sandy bill in the House strips the legislation of at least some of the pork, but after yesterday’s fight over the “fiscal cliff” deal it seems reasonable that Congress might not have been up for another battle just yet.

    Nevertheless, the House leadership has promised that the Sandy bill will be the first priority for the next Congress, which will be sworn in tomorrow.

    “Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress, and that was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations. The House will vote Friday to direct needed resources to the National Flood Insurance Program. And on January 15th, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress, the House will consider the remaining supplemental request for the victims of Hurricane Sandy,” say Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a joint statement released after Christie’s remarks.

  5. RedRover

    This action was taken to appease the real Speaker of the House, a man I choose to call Gopher Nutcase.

    In the aftermath of Katrina, I saw this billboard at a demonstration I attended:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rob_goodspeed/45183870/

    I figure it this way: When they voted for the fiscal cliff tax hike band-aid, Boehner and his pals broke faith with their spiritual advisor, Gopher N. His Gopherness then demanded that they restore his faith in them by taking this action as penance for their sins against his holy scripture.

    Who elected Gopher as Tax Law Czar? His undue influence is reason enough for a congressional investigation into how he got so powerful and stays that way.

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