Chris Christie Slams House Republicans Over Sandy Relief Failure
Hell hath no fury like a Christie scorned.
Chris Christie has never been once to mince words, so it’s not surprising that his reaction to the failure of the House of Representatives to even take a vote on Hurricane Sandy relies culminated in what can only be described as an extraordinary press conference:
Gov. Chris Christie ripped into House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today for delaying a vote on billions in federal aid for recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
“There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” said Christie at a press conference this afternoon.
Christie, who gave the keynote address at the Republican National Convention last summer, said Congress traditionally puts politics aside for disaster relief but that House Republican leadership had put politics “before our oaths to serve our citizens.”
“For me it was disappointing and disgusting to watch,” said Christie, who praised New Jersey’s own House delegation. “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.”
By contrast, Christie said President Obama called him today to “assure me of his continued support.”
Christie said he had assurances from House Republicans that they would vote on the bill last night. He said he spoke with Boehner today but would not discuss the specifics of the conversation.
“We got continued assurances as late as last night at 9:00 that as soon as the fiscal cliff vote was over that the rule would be discussed for voting today on the aid package,” he said.
He said New York and New Jersey have always been “generous” with relief for other states, and noted that both states are “donor states’ to the federal government, paying far more in taxes than they get back in funding. He said at 66 days, New Jersey has already had to wait more than twice as long as other regions hit by hurricanes.
“31 days for Andrew victims. 17 days victims of Gustav and Ike,” he said. “10 days for victims of Katrina. For the victims of Sandy in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut it’s been 66 days and the wait continues.”
Buzzfeed has more:
Christie revealed that he learned the bill would be delayed late Tuesday night at 11:20 p.m., in a call not from Boehner, but House Leader Eric Cantor.
“I was given no explanation,” said Christie, adding that he made a total of four calls to Boehner Tuesday night, none of which were returned. “All I can tell you was this was the Speaker’s decision — his alone.”
Christie said he spoke with Boehner Wednesday morning, but refused to discuss specifics of the conversation.
In one of his most impassioned moments at the press conference, Christie issued a sharp attack on Congress.
“Shame on you, shame on Congress,” he said, adding later that lawmakers in D.C. are “so consumed with their own internal politics, that they forgot that they have a job to do.”
“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” he said. “We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans — or at least we did until last night.”
It’s true that there is some “pork” in the bill that the Senate passed. Depending on how you add it up, which depends on what you consider “pork,” it comes to something as low as $400 million or something just under $1 billion dollars. The entire Sandy Relief Bill adds up to just about $60 Billion, so we’re talking about a relatively infinitessimal amount of money in the grand scheme of things. Governor Christie made the point that he didn’t think that such as small amount of extraneous spending should hold up a bill that he believes is desperately needed in his state to recover from the worst natural disaster the state had ever experienced. Supposedly to address these concerns about “pork,” the House had drafted its own version of a Sandy Relief Bill that didn’t include the extraneous spending that many on the right were complaining about. Boehner not only didn’t bring up the bill that had passed the Senate for a vote, he refused to even bring the House’s own bill up for a vote. That’s what provoked bipartisan outrage from the New York and New Jersey Congressional Districts. Add into that the fact that Congressional leaders had spent the weekend assuring Christie that the bill would indeed come up for a vote before the 112th Congress adjourned, and it’s easy to see why Christie is so pissed off.
No doubt Christie will get attacked from the right due to this press conference and his blunt talk about the House GOP, but it seems to me that his anger is pretty much justified. Not only had the leadership assured him that there would be a vote, but that very vote was being worked on by Majority Leader Cantor. The decision to pull the bill was, apparently, entirely Speaker Boehner’s and there doesn’t seem to be any rational reason for it other, perhaps, then the fact that he was just fed up after the Fiscal Cliff vote and wanted to go home. In either case, it has turned quickly into an utter public relations disaster for the House GOP that has Boehner being attacked not just by Democrats, but by Republicans like Rep. Peter King, Rep. Michael Grimm, and, of course, Governor Christie.
There are now reports that we may see a vote on Sandy Relief as early as the end of this week, but that’s going to require both the House and the Senate to go through the process of reintroducing a bill and passing it. More importantly, it’s unlikely to heal the scorn directed, deservedly, at Boehner over this.
Here’s the video of Christie’s press conference, it’s really quite excellent:
Good on Christie and the Republicans from NY and NJ for calling this like it is. This lack of a vote was ridiculous. They should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
I absolutely love the people righteously declaring that this is karma for giving Obama a hug. It really emphasizes that these guys are arguing in good faith.
Keep fighting that good fight, you assholes.
Um, what party did Christie think he was a member of? This is the party he campaigned for. These are the people he thinks should be in charge of the country. Where’s the big surprise coming from? It’s OK if they mistreat everyone else, but once they mistreat you, suddenly you notice?
Doug, does the fate of the Sandy bill convince you to vote against Republicans? I imagine not.
The Republicans are doing just what the people who vote for them desire. People like you.
The 112th…Worst Republican Caucus ever.
All they have really managed to do is vote to repeal Obamacare 33 times.
Boehner and the incompetent Republicans are getting huge amounts of heat. And you know Christie is going to get huge airplay tonight…that press conference was a barn-burner.
I’m betting they get this thing passed by the deadline tomorrow at noon.
BTW…Connecticut is a huge donor state too.
The NE should succeed from the Nation…let the rest of you moochers make it on your own.
@C. Clavin: Cliff Clavin, of all people YOU should know that it is spelled “secede”.
@C. Clavin: “The NE should succeed from the Nation…”
I was watching the News Hour last night, and the newly elected senator from Nebraska, Deb Fischer, was on. She made all the appropriate Tea Party noises.
Population of Nebraska: 1,842,641
Population of New Jersey: 8,821,155
Population of New York City: 8,244,910
There is four times as many cows in Nebraska as people.
Will Christie remain in the Republican Party? Inquiring minds want to know.
In the meantime, all of this is just catnip for the Democrats.
Wonder what would be the results of a Congressional election held today?
Or one after the debt ceiling fight in March ?
Unfortunately we will have to deal with a dysfunctional House majority till 2014, and more likely 2016, or even the rest of the decade.
Its crystal clear now that the 2010 was a national disaster, the equivalent of the country shooting itself in the a$$. There is not one good thing that came out of the 112th Congress and since most of them have returned for the 113th, I expect the FAIL to continue.
Parliamentary government is looking better and better.
I saw too. Oh well, its a Nebraska problem . We replaced a conservative DINO ( Ben Nelson) with an ultra-conservative Republican. In the big scheme of things, that’s OK, since the Senate elections were a net Democratic gain. We just were not going to get anyone much better out there.
But the stupid, it BUUUURNT.
Obviously Congress should pass a reasonable emergency response bill. They should have plenty of experience with that. Cut and paste.
Just a note on this though, I believe I read today that Social Security outflows will come to $100B, and not even that until the end of the decade.
I’m curious Doug, after Joplin was nearly destroyed, you made a snarky remark along the lines of “the federal government should not get involved every time someone’s house is knocked down.”
Have your feelings changed since disaster struck a little closer to home?
Wasn’t boehner pointing journos at Cantor’s office after the vote was pulled? Maybe it wasn’t a ragequit but was instead some sort of Cantor/Boehner squabble.
@Rafer Janders: Yes, you are completely correct. Chris Christie is of one mind, body and soul – besides food, he is not above being a hypocrite.
I don’t detect a word in his post that he cares at all about the victims of Republicans policies, close or not. Doug never does.
Ashamed of themselves? WRONG! They need to lose their jobs. When they are too tired from all the work they actually didn’t do, they deserve a life long break from the job they ran for and was elected to do. This is absolutely unacceptable! Remember this the next time you see them on the ballot!!!!!
Hang on here. Those Senators who stuffed 9-10 figures of pork into the Sandy bill and then screwed out of town — why the hell aren’t they “hostage takers?” They wouldn’t pass a bill that would help the Sandy victims unless they got their vigorish.
I find myself shocked that the people who denounced “hostage-taking” are actually condoning it here. Shocked, I tell you. Gobsmacked, even.
Lets get real, OK?
We aint in Kansas anymore. Putting the pork on is despicable. To minimize the magnitude is to institutionalize government as usual. And we are bankrupt.
As for holding it up. Payback is a bitch. Wanna suck Obama’s unit again, fatboy? Again, despicable, but thats how government works, and why I hate big government.
Maybe fattass should have looked more ahead than 60 days………..
Fatboy? He gone!!!!!!!!!!.
No, we aren’t. What we have are maniacs doing everything they can to starve the federal government of revenue by opposing any tax hikes unless their back is against the wall.
If we’re broke, how come it doesn’t show up in long term interest rates?
Last time you said that you were telling us about the coming Romney victory.
These sort of comments from you are getting pretty old. Perhaps you should work out your sexual confusion somewhere else.
This is idiotic
Watch the bond market today? Ever heard of quantitative easing? Looked at the result for interest rates?
Are you a complete moron?
Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing. People of your ilk claimed that QE2 was holding long term interest rates down. When it ended, interest rates spiked (not by much) for a couple of weeks and returned to their previous levels.
Are you a moron? Have you ever heard of a liquidity trap?
@Drew: Also, while I’m at it, people of your ilk have been claiming that QE would create massive inflation since 2009. Where is it? Do you and people like you just enjoy being wrong?
@Drew: “As for holding it up. Payback is a bitch. Wanna suck Obama’s unit again, fatboy? ”
So you’re saying that the proper role of the House Republicans is to lengthen the suffering of American citizens who have lost their homes and jobs due to a natural disaster simply because the Republican governor of one of the affected states wasn’t sufficiently rude to the President?
Is there any reason any human being should ever listen to another word you say after this?
Yikes. Even for you that’s some low-rent douchebaggery. I’m going to give you a pass since I know you may still be on painkillers coming off surgery. But jeez, Drew, don’t post on Vicodin.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Because, as has been noted elsewhere, The Senate passed a straight aid-only bill that Boehner _also_ refused to bring up for a vote. Face it, Jenos, this is _purely_ Republican sociopathy at work.
It is hardly surprising that Republican enablers around are so cranky…I mean, members of their party have been showing themselves to be heartless and stupid…not a pretty picture…
Take all the pork out! Give the sandy people what they need not what they wish. Christie ought to be ashamed of himself. He knows better. He too is playing politics. The democrats ought to be ashamed as they stick in pork at expense of Sandy victims.
Just in case you have been jerking yourself blind:
The Senate passed a straight aid-only bill that Boehner _also_ refused to bring up for a vote
Yea, well, Republicans in congress. The same people who voted against the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act – medical help for 9.11 first responders who are sick now.
To anyone who believes that Christie will be the Repubican nominee in 2016, how do you think Christie’s bully routine for more government spending is going to play out in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2016. I doubt if the Republicans in Iowa will enjoy being yelled at by a east coast moderate who demands unlimited government spending on his own state while totally ignoring the budget deficit and the national debt.
will christie still be some democrat hero by summer? this stuff is funny, get over yourselves already.
@legion: The Senate passed a straight aid-only bill that Boehner _also_ refused to bring up for a vote. Face it, Jenos, this is _purely_ Republican sociopathy at work.
In that link, there is mention of a House bill that Boehner blocked, but no mention of a Senate bill passing. No citations, but a mention. It appears that the only Senate-passed relief bill was the pork-laden $60-billion bill Obama put forward.
Anyone got a citation for this “clean” bill?
Drew, Captain of
GondorIndustry, shows his quality.
As for the porky bits: sure, pull them out. Offer an amended bill. The PR should be pretty easy, really. “Hey, look, the other guys loaded up a relief bill with unrelated BS. We offered a clean bill and THEY blocked it.” That should be simple. It assumes, of course, that the Smithsonian money and whatnot was actually the issue. It also might require, you know, work.
@Rob in CT: So, the despicable people are not the ones who put all the pork into the bill, but those who opposed it?
Your “amend the bill” approach wouldn’t have worked, you git. The Senate passed it, then skedaddled out of town. Amending it was effectively the same as killing it.
What the Republicans have said they will do is exactly what you propose — but in a way that will actually work. Whether they do it or not remains to be seen (I have my own doubts), but that’s the current plan.
That’s not what I said.
I said that if the objection is to the pork, simply put forward the same bill with the specific bits of pork stripped out and turn the argument around on your opposition. If that’s the issue, it’s dead easy to do, and you make the pork stuffers the villains!
So why wasn’t that done?
I googled around on this and there was apparently a $27B GOP bill floating around. That’s less than half the size. If Doug is correct about the amount of pork in the $60B bill, then the GOP alternative (so far) was not just an excercise in stripping out pork. It was about halving the size of the relief bill because… well because why? Is $60B too much? If we compare Sandy’s damage to that of prior hurricanes that hit other areas (inflation adjusted, of course) and compare relief bills, does that hold water? If so, make that argument. I might well agree with you.
You know, my google-fu isn’t that strong today. I was trying to do such a comparison, and it’s not as easy as I’d hoped. I would expect, however, that congresscritters have staff who could do the comparison for them. Tally up the various major hurricanes and compare federal relief efforts. Pick a midpoint and use that as a baseline. Present that numbers.
Hey, maybe it is $27B, not $60B. Or maybe it’s $35 or something. Show me that, and I’m persuadable.
@Rob in CT: I said that if the objection is to the pork, simply put forward the same bill with the specific bits of pork stripped out and turn the argument around on your opposition. If that’s the issue, it’s dead easy to do, and you make the pork stuffers the villains!
Because there wasn’t time. The Senate left town and was NOT coming back before the end of the Congress, and when the session ends, ALL unpassed bills die. Debating and passing such a bill would have been pointless, as there was no Senate to vote on it. The only practical thing to do was to just kill the bad bill, then start again once the new Congress comes into being.
Which is what they’re doing.
As far as your Google Fu… mine ain’t much better, if at all. I spent 20 minutes trying to track down that mythical Senate bill before I read the link carefully and saw it was a House bill, and even then I couldn’t find the details, either. Which makes me think it was pretty much a trial balloon, and not a serious proposal.
@Jenos Idanian #13: As Rob mentions, it was a pork-free (or at least “low-fat”) version within the House; mea culpa. But as for this:
that’s bogus. No matter what the House did, there’d still have to be some sort of reconciliation meets to ensure that what went to Obama’s desk was cleared by the Senate as well. That’s true if the House passed the $60b bill, the $27b bill, or even just the word-for-word Senate bill (whatever it was). Yes, if the House made huge, random changes to things it would have made things tough on the Senate until they could bless it as well, but then it would be the Dem-controlled Senate taking the heat, not Boehner and his band of dysfunctional twits. You don’t think if Boehner could have shifted that limelight onto Harry Reid he wouldn’t have jumped at the chance? Mitch McConnell may be a grade-A a**hat, but if this bill was waiting on Senate approval, he and Reid would have come back to get it done. It’s still the Republicans who are totally the problem here.
What a bunch of clowns..
JenosIndiana Jones, Drew, SuperDuperPooperScooper…always the same BS…always f’ing wrong. Yet always ready to pontificate from on -high about the next issue on the docket. And be completely wrong again. Do you ever stop to wond3er why you are always wrong?
Pork-Laden? How much pork? What are the actual numbers? Even if Doug’s high end estimate…$1B…is right…we’re talking about 1.67%. BFD.
It’s like Government Waste…everyone wants to get rid of it…but when they go looking…there just ain’t that much. Not that it doesn’t exist. It’s just that you clowns blow it all out of proportion.
Republicans are the problem with this Government and have been for some time now. The fact that you clowns refuse to see that tells the rest of us all we need to know.
At least Jan had the good sense to disappear.
@C. Clavin: If you say it two more times, you might summon her.
OTB is not your personal erotica site, dude
…the image of Drew wanking off to Christie sucking on Obama’s unit is something I will forever hold you in contempt for…
@Rob in CT: “It assumes, of course, that the Smithsonian money and whatnot was actually the issue.”
And that fixing the roofs of the Smithsonian, so that our national treasures are not destroyed in a rain storm, is somehow a waste of money.
Well, no, actually. I’m going to disagree there, wr.
Even if it’s a perfectly worthwhile expenditure, it doesn’t belong in a Sandy relief bill unless it was damaged in the storm (wait, was it?).
@Rob in CT: I don’t know — does it matter? Is it important for the nation? Will the sociopaths in the Tea Party block it otherwise? Why shouldn’t it be folded into the bill?
Maybe some of the Republicans here who are so outraged about pork can direct us to the many comments they have written protesting how prominent members of their party such as Michelle Bachmann and her husband are gorging at the public trough…
Or the pork in military contracts (which even the Pentagon admits is a problem).
Only an idiot would pass up an opportunity to save who knows how much in Capital Gains taxes.
And only an idiot would condemn that effort as “politically ironic”.
Crap…wrong thread…how did that happen?
@C. Clavin: “Crap…wrong thread…how did that happen? ”
Oddly, calling the Tsar an idiot actually makes sense in just about every thread.
@legion: that’s bogus. No matter what the House did, there’d still have to be some sort of reconciliation meets to ensure that what went to Obama’s desk was cleared by the Senate as well. That’s true if the House passed the $60b bill, the $27b bill, or even just the word-for-word Senate bill (whatever it was).
And people call me stupid.
The Senate passed the $60 billion bill and got the hell out of town. That meant the House had to pass exactly the same bill, or kill it (indirectly, by amending it, or directly, like they did). Any changes would have to be approved by the Senate, and the Senate was gone. And then, by the Constitution, the Congress ended and all pending legislation died.
Today marks the new Congress. Zero bills carry over; everything starts fresh.
In brief: the 112th Congress ended last night, at midnight. Today begins the 113th Congress. And anything left unfinished by the 112th is dead.
How is the museum typically funded? The funding for roof repair should go there.
People say there are no atheists in foxholes. Don’t know about that, but apparently there are no libertarians in storm shelters.
@michael reynolds: “But jeez, Drew, don’t post on Vicodin. ”
What’s the old saying? ‘Whiskey makes fools, but it don’t make liars’?
You know, it’s like they say: In Vicodin Veritas.
Indiana Jones sez:
Wonder why that is?
amusing that I would get up votes for a comment completely unrelated to the topic…you must be on to something.
Both parties add pork. The stimulus was loaded with it in the way of NSCAR, sheep shearing, Puerto Rican Rum, wooden arrows and numerous pork projects.
But…..if Congress would not vote on this due to added pork, Boehner should have sent the Bill back to be amended so it would pass. You do not throw it in the corner somewhere and forget about it when people are suffering for 6 weeks. Congress had no problem trying to amend Obamacare 33 times. This was Boehners job and he dropped the ball. Again.
@Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail:
I’m just gonna let that sit there.
But you might want to ask why _nobody_ (except Boehner & his Tourettes, apparently) has been chewing out Reid or even McConnell over this. Even the Peanut Gallery at Fox isn’t lambasting the Senate over failing to get a hurricane aid bill passed – when it went through the Senate, nobody batted an eye. It’s the House where things hit a wall.
Now, if the bill the Senate passed _was_ the exact same $60b pile of pork sausage we’re arguing about here, why didn’t anyone object in the Senate? If it_wasn’t_ the same bill, then the Senate (or some sort of bicameral committee) would _have_ to convene to build a final bill after the House vote. If your assertion is correct, what exactly did every single member of the House of Representatives think they were doing on that last day, after the Senate split? Chris Christie sure seems to think it’s Boehner’s fault nothing got passed. If you don’t like him any more, Peter King had some choice words about Boeher too, and he’s actually in the House of Representatives, so I suspect he has a somewhat greater understanding of how Congress works than you do…
@legion: What a fascinating pile of distractions you’ve tossed up. Let’s get down to the bare facts:
1) Obama proposed about $60 billion in a package he called “Sandy relief.”
2) The Senate passed about the same amount, under the same name, that had a LOT of pork, then left town until the Constitutionally-mandated end of their term.
3) The House was presented with the choice of passing the pork-laden alleged “Sandy relief” bill exactly as is, or killing it — either through inaction, or openly voting it down. (There would be no “conference committee,” as there were no Senators in town to be on it, let alone vote on the amended version.) They chose to vote it down.
You’re arguing that because the Republicans didn’t act perfectly, it’s totally excusable that the Democrats acted swinishly. And that’s bullcrap. Even for you, that’s bullcrap.
@Jenos Idanian #13: And the Projection Parade continues. No, Jenos, _you_ are clearly the source of distraction here, considering _you’re_ the one who brought “blaming the Democrats” into this discussion at all. I know it’s a lot to ask you to get through all of my windy diatribes, but is it really too much to expect you to read your own posts to keep you from getting confused?
No, the “bare facts” (a term you clearly don’t grasp either part of) are that every single solitary person in Washington DC – from the Dems to the Republicans to the talking heads – all place the blame for not getting Sandy aid passed squarely on the head of Boehner. Why? Why is your assertion that the Senate bailed out of town the bullshit “distraction” in this discussion? It’s really simple:
Boehner _could_ have brought anything he wanted up for a vote – the $60b pork-laden bill, the $27b fat-free bill, some modification of the Senate bill, something entirely different… and yes – it would have required Senate action to get anything to Obama’s desk for signing. If the House had passed _anything at all_, it would have put the onus back onto the Senate – everyone would have blamed _them_ for not getting relief to Sandy victims, not Boehner and the House. So ask yourself Jenos: why wouldn’t Boehner do that?
No matter what you think of Reid’s or McConnell’s politics, they’re both highly competent politicians who understand their people. They knew they could get enough of their people _back in DC_ to pass something and either get the aid through or toss the stink-bomb back to Boehner. But Boehner can’t lead the group of children that now constitute the House Republican caucus. He couldn’t get a majority vote on a “puppies and kitties are nice” bill, let alone something that spends gov’t money.
The Reps and Dems in the Senate knew they could pass bills – good bills, bad bills, they could actually perform their friggin’ jobs. Every single person in the US (except you, apparently) knows the House can’t. The House won’t.
No, I’m arguing that the Senate – Reps and Dems alike – are at least _trying_ to do something. They’re not always things I agree with or even like, but they tend to show up for work, most days. The House OTOH is what’s acting “swinishly”. Actually, they’re acting like an all-day recess for poorly-behaved 3-year-olds, and Boehner’s the lucky guy who wanted to be in charge of them.