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