The fiscal cliff wasn’t the only thing lawmakers were paying attention to as the New Year began. Many pols also expected the House to take up the Sandy Relief Package passed by the Senate, which would provide $60 billion in aid to storm-ravaged areas. But when the vote was postponed by Republicans, many on both sides of the aisle were angered.
“Never before has this country walked away from its obligation to help Americans in the wake of a natural disaster, but today, the House Republican leadership told New Jersey and New York to drop dead,” said Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in a statement. “I cannot recall a congressional act to be so inconsistent with our core principle that we are the United States of America than the House Republican leadership’s decision to kill a vote on the Sandy recovery package.”
But the disbelief didn’t just break down along partisan lines as is often the case. Republican Peter King (R-NY) took to the House floor to excoriate his colleagues for their failure to take up the bill.
“For the Speaker to just walk out is inexcusable,” he told reporters, according to NBC News. “It’s wrong and I’m saying that as a member of the Republican Party.”
But King wasn’t done.
“I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds,” he said in an interview on Fox News. “Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”
In a statement to NBC News, a spokesman for Boehner said: “The Speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month.” But that assurance was not enough for the members who have districts that were affected by Sandy.
“In the few hours remaining in the 112th Congress, I call upon House Republicans to recognize their humanity over their partisanship,” Menendez said.
“Help the thousands of Americans in our area who will be forced to brave the cold of winter without homes, their businesses, their jobs, right now.”