Jan 2, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It was a smack down of unprecedented proportions.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) met with criticism from both sides of the political spectrum Wednesday for his sudden decision to pull the plug on the vote for desperately-needed aid for Superstorm Sandy victims.
“I was called at 11:20 last night by Leader [Eric] Cantor and told that authority for the vote was pulled by the speaker,” Gov. Christie said today. He said his own attempts to get through to Boehner were unsuccessful.
“I called the speaker four times. He did not take my calls,” he said. “All I can tell you is this was the speaker’s decision — his alone.”
Following the barrage of attacks, Boehner assured Tri-State lawmakers that a vote on the full $60.4 billion aid bill will come in less than two weeks.
“It’s going to be $9 billion on flood insurance this Friday will be voted on. And then on Jan. 15, the first full legislative day, will be the additional $51 billion will be voted on and that’ll come to a total of $60 [billion], which is what the total was of the bill that was supposed to be voted on this week,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) announced Wednesday afternoon. ”All I care about is my constituents, the constituents of New York and New Jersey who were absolutely devastated. Clearly, the Speaker responded and I take him at his word.”
Both bills will have to be approved by the Senate as well.
Following his earlier harsh words for the top Republican in the House, King also said he planned to vote for Boehner to retain his title of Speaker of the House on Thursday.
Stunningly, some of the harshest criticism for Boehner came from members of his own party, CBS 2?s Marcia Kramer reported.
CHRISTIE: BLAME BOEHNER
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn’t hold back when calling out fellow Republicans in the continued fight to secure more federal aid for the victims of Sandy.
“There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims — the House majority and their speaker John Boehner,” Christie said.
Christie, upset by how many days it has taken for lawmakers in Washington to act, called the decision by GOP leadership to end its term without approving the $60.4 billion bill “disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
“We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Or at least we did until last night. Last night, politics was placed before our oath to serve our citizens,” Christie said.
“New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are tired of being treated like second-class citizens,” Christie Added. “New York deserves better than the selfishness we saw on display last night. New Jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw on display last night. America deserves better than just another example of a government that has forgotten who they are there to serve and why. Sixty-six days and counting. Shame on you. Shame on Congress.”
On Friday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a $60.4 billion measure to help with recovery. The House Appropriations Committee drafted a smaller version for $27 billion with plans to add an amendment for additional long-term help.
A vote had been expected before Congress’ term ended Thursday at noon. But since the Republican leadership opted to abandon it, representatives on both sides of the aisle have been lashing out.
The Garden State governor continued his diatribe by saying “Last night the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state.”
Christie said he felt “betrayed” by the inaction of lawmakers and how the House leadership played New York and New Jersey like “pawns.” He also conveyed that residents in his state were likely feeling the same way.
“Everything is a possibility, a potential piece of bait for the political game. And it’s just…it is why the American people hate Congress,” Christie said.
MORE CRITICISM OVER AID
Area lawmakers from both parties also took to the floor of the House Wednesday to blast the GOP leadership for its decision to end its term without approving
Several lawmakers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said Speaker Boehner’s decision to abandon a vote this session would be a crushing blow to states ravaged by the devastating storm.
“There was a betrayal,” said Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.). “There was an error in judgement that is going to cost, I think, the trust of the American people.”
“How can we treat an entire region of the country this way,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). ”It is the most disgraceful action I’ve seen in this House in 20 years I’ve been here.”
Long Island Rep. King called it a “cruel knife in the back.”
“I have to go home this weekend and next week and the week after and see the hundreds, the thousands of people who are out of their homes, who don’t have shelter and who don’t have food,” King said on the House floor.
He said some Republicans have a double standard when it comes to providing aid to New York and New Jersey.
“These people have no problem finding New York when it comes to raising money,” King said. “It’s only when it comes to allocating money that they can’t find the ability to do it.”