Members of Congress from the New York and New Jersey area are livid over the House of Representative’s failure to take up a bill that would send billions in relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
According to The New York Times, the Senate approved $60.4 billion in aid last week. But time ran out before the 112th Congress wrapped up yesterday with the fiscal cliff vote. So it has to wait until the 113th Congress, which gets started tomorrow.
Local lawmakers at the state and federal level have been on a tear today over the delay. A statement from Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo from New York says, “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.” Here’s more from a Christie press conference, in which the Governor takes it a little further.
Republican Rep. Peter King (NY) took to the House floor to openly blame House Speaker John Boehner, who Rep. King said, “walked off the floor and said for whatever reason that the bill was being pulled” after yesterday’s tax vote. Speaker Boehner’s office says a meeting will take place today at 3pm and a vote will take place this month, according to Politico.
Sen. Chuck Schumer also said today, point blank, that he was “angry” over the situation, lamenting that now, because of the wait for a new session, the “we’re gonna have to start all over.” His comments were joined by those of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Besides the fact that the fight over the fiscal cliff superseded any other legislative discussion, it’s believed that the size of the bill was a hindrance. The $60-plus billion is actually less than what had been first suggested.
The money would be used, according to the Times, to ” help homeowners and small-business owners rebuild from the storm; to repair bridges, tunnels and transportation systems; to reimburse local governments for overtime costs of police, fire and other emergency services; and to replenish shorelines.”