The $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy relief legislation that the Senate managed to pass last week wasn't even voted on by the House of Representatives... which was entirely expected, unfortunately. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) decided to abandon a vote, which really upset Rep. Peter King (R-NY). King said, "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. This is not the United States of America. This should not be the Republican party, this should not be the Republican leadership."
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said, "Shame on Speaker Boehner for choosing not to act on Sandy relief for the Northeast. This is a betrayal of the millions of Americans who are struggling after Sandy and a trivialization of the loss of more than 100 American lives. Not taking up the $60 billion Sandy funding bill will mean that many Americans could remain homeless, the rebuilding of homes and businesses across the Northeast will be delayed, and the coastal infrastructure of the region will remain damaged and vulnerable to the next storm... I am appalled - and mystified - by a total collapse of leadership on the part of Speaker Boehner."
And Rep. Michael Grimm, the Republican Congressman from Staten Island, feels "betrayed," according to the Staten Island Advance. His spokeswoman "said Grimm attributed the decision to pull the vote to House Speaker John Boehner, while noting that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had been supportive." The NY Times chalks it up to something even bigger than Mother Nature: Government inaction, "The storm spending bill was apparently a victim of bad timing. It has been eclipsed by negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over a plan intended to avert a series of tax increases and spending cuts that automatically took effect in the New Year."
A spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel, told the AP, "The Speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month." But that's little comfort to the region—the Daily News' editorial blasts the Speaker, "John Boehner’s word is dirt — and his fellow Republicans’ bond with Americans in need is lower than that. The House Speaker promised, 11 ways to Sunday, that he would bring a vote on 60 billion in vital, urgent aid to help New York, New Jersey and Connecticut recover and rebuild in the wake of one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit this country. He turned his back. He broke his commitment. "
And President Obama issued this statement:
It has only been two months since Hurricane Sandy devastated communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as other eastern states. 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 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.
When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need. I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.