John Boehner Sets House Votes on Sandy Aid After Republican Attacks

Having faced intense pressure from his fellows, House Speaker John Boehner set a vote this week on aid for hurricane Sandy recovery.

Angry Republican lawmakers criticized U.S. House Speaker on Wednesday for refusing to vote on the $60 billion relief package for Hurricane Sandy victims before John Boehner finally agreed on holding votes over the next two weeks. Photo: Speaker Boehner/Flickr

Wednesday morning saw Republican lawmakers slamming their own leadership for delaying a vote on a Sandy disaster relief bill until the next Congress, with some Republicans even vowing to vote against Boehner for House speaker over the matter.

The speaker had to promise the New York and New Jersey lawmakers to hold a vote Friday on $9.7 billion in funding needed for federal flood insurance and another set of votes on Jan. 15 on the remaining $50.3 billion, said Rep. Peter King.

“This procedure that was laid out is fully acceptable and fully satisfactory. It provides the full $60 billion that we require,” said King, a high-ranking House Republican from Long Island, New York.

By the way, King had previously slammed Boehner’s adjournment of the House before the Sandy vote, saying on the House floor the inaction was “a knife in the back.”

Superstorm Sandy has become one of the most devastating natural phenomena in the U.S. modern history and one of the worst storms ever in the Northeast.

“Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress, and that was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations,” Boehner said in a joint statement with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Boehner’s decision to delay an expected vote on Sandy disaster relief aid before Congress ends its current session attracted plenty of criticism from New York, New Jersey and adjacent states where the money will go, including many lawmakers in his own party, Reuters reports.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blamed House Speaker John Boehner for delaying a vote on federal disaster aid for the disastrous storm, calling the inaction “disappointing and disgusting.”

“There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Natural disasters happen in red states and blue states and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors.”

He went on, adding: “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 oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”

According to his spokesperson, Boehner explained that after the contentious vote on the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the speaker didn’t think it was the right time to schedule the vote before the current Congress went out of business.

“What’s done is done. The end result will be New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will receive the funding they deserve. We made our position clear last night. That’s in the past,” King said.

He continued, warning that failure to pass the relief bill could damage Republican Party fundraising in New Jersey and New York.

“This should not be a Republican or Democratic issue. But if these guys want to use New York and New Jersey as cash cows for themselves, then they should realize those days could be over,” he said.

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