House Fails To Act On Hurricane Sandy Relief

The rancor over the Fiscal Cliff deal was enhanced last night when it became apparent that the House would not be voting on a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy before the 112th Congress adjourned:

Northeast lawmakers and Democratic leaders were in an uproar late Tuesday after the House held its final votes of the 112th Congress without acting on a relief bill for states damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Minority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said Majority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., had virtually promised a vote on the relief bill before this Congress ends on Thursday. He called on Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to reconsider the decision.

New York Republican Peter King called the action “a betrayal of trust.”

“It is truly heartless that the House will not even allow the Sandy bill to come to the floor for a vote, and Speaker Boehner should reconsider his ill-advised decision,” said New York Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

“I am here tonight saying to myself for the first time that I am not proud of the decision that my team has made,” said Michael G. Grimm, a Republican who represents hard-hit Staten Island.

And Rush Holt, D-N.J., suggested that the decision might have something to do with the fact that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are Democratic-leaning states. “I’d like to think this is not a partisan matter, but I have to wonder what is going on here.”

Aides to the speaker referred questions on the handling of the bill to Cantor’s office, where an aide said Boehner made the call.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, “The seaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month.”

The Senate passed a $60.4 billion disaster relief measure on Dec. 28, but without House action that bill will die when the new Congress begins.

A Republican House aide confirmed that the Senate bill will not come to the House floor either on its own or in a two-step process that was crafted to address concerns over the bill.

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he is ready to move the bill as soon as he gets a go-ahead from the leadership, but he said that will not happen on Wednesday.

(…)

The New York and New Jersey House delegations have worked for weeks to try to secure GOP support for a relief bill, coordinating their efforts with Cantor, who met with Hoyer seeking a path forward for the measure.

Several Northeast Republicans, including King and Tom Reed of New York and Todd Platts and Charlie Dent of Pennsylva joined the Democrats in calling for the House to take up a Sandy bill on Wednesday.

“The decision is “absolutely indefensible,” said an emotional King. “Everybody played by the rules, except tonight when the rug was pulled out from under us.”

Unless Boehner relents and allows a vote today, Congress will have to start over with a new piece of legislation.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ernieyeball says:

    “I am here tonight saying to myself for the first time that I am not proud of the decision that my team has made,” said Michael G. Grimm, a Republican who represents hard-hit Staten Island.

    The “first time” since when? The last ten minutes?

  2. Marc Danziger says:

    Don’t you think you ought to mention that the House passed a $27B relief bill that didn’t include money for Alaskan fisheries and a new roof for the Smithsonian? A little context might be useful here.

    MD

  3. legion says:

    He was too busy telling Harry Reid how much he loves him…

  4. Gustopher says:

    I hope the Northeast representatives and senators remember this the next time there is a hurricane in the gulf.

  5. Argon says:

    @Gustopher:
    That would be cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face. Coastal cities tend to be blue. If you want want to hit the GOP, tie federal payouts for states to each state’s net tax contribution.

  6. Ernieyeball says:

    @Gustopher: I hope the Northeast representatives and senators remember this the next time there is a hurricane in the gulf.

    And if they have any respect for the oath that they took to “promote the general Welfare,..to ourselves and our Posterity,..” they will vote to assist their neighbors despite the snivelling recriminations of some of their Chamber mates.
    Then again, maybe I’m dreaming…

  7. legion says:

    @Gustopher: And _I_ hope the _voters_ of the northeast remember this the next time they have an election – that the GOP would rather let them starve and freeze, homeless, than even _pretend_ to do their actual jobs…

  8. JKB says:

    Strip the pork out, put it up for a vote and then watch the NE representatives squirm.

    If these politicians really were concerned about their constituents they wouldn’t have packed pork around the needed relief funds.

  9. swbarnes2 says:

    No, the Republicans are just showing how not in love with government they are.

    I don’t understand why Doug doesn’t approve.

  10. Stan says:

    GOP to Northeast: Drop Dead

  11. Barry says:

    @JKB: “Strip the pork out, put it up for a vote and then watch the NE representatives squirm. ”

    Yes, because it’s not like the Ryans of this world suck down pork in immense amounts.

  12. JKB says:

    @Barry:

    Oh, they all love the pork. Which is why stripping it down is so important. Seems 64% of this “emergency” bill isn’t even to be spent for 2 years. And some how Alaska fisheries, AMTRAK and others were terribly impacted by Sandy.

    The important thing for those not blinded by party ideology is to shine a big bright spot light on this theft by politicians. Then you get both parties to scurry for the dark.

    Remember, few go into politics for the lying, they mostly go in for the stealin’

  13. C. Clavin says:

    The Republicans are incapable of and uninterested in Governing. Period.
    Their only reason for being is to protect the incomes of their wealthiest constituents. Superstorm Sand relief only proves this…again.

  14. Joe says:

    States are not supposed to be reliant upon Federal dollars.

  15. Ernieyeball says:

    @Joe: So I guess the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways should have never been built…

  16. @JKB:

    The House had a “clean” version of the Sandy Relief Bill. Why didn’t Boehner bring that up for a vote, then?

  17. LaMont says:

    I mean come on! What other evidence do we need to understand that this congress, republican driven, is the most do-nothing congress in the history of this country as other desaster relief funds have been passed much sooner in the past!

  18. bill says:

    they’ll get some money, not even worried about it- are they going to rebuild the boardwalk in the middle of winter or something?

  19. anjin-san says:

    States are not supposed to be reliant upon Federal dollars.

    If Joe is ever the victim of a disaster, we can all be assured he will refuse any federal help.

  20. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    You know I find myself actually hoping your ass winds up on the sidewalk some cold winter night.

  21. bill says:

    @anjin-san: oh stop it, the relief bill would be rebuilding private beaches for millionaires too- could you stand for that!? and it was laden with totally irrelevant spending that has nothing to to with sandy.

  22. anjin-san says:

    was laden with totally irrelevant spending that has nothing to to with sandy.

    You mean it is like every other bill that comes before congress?