House Republican leadership has decided to adjourn before taking up the Hurricane Sandy relief package that arrived from the Senate, infuriating local lawmakers from both parties.
The bill, which would bring $60.4 billion in relief and other stimulus to the eastern seaboard states devastated by Sandy, now appears to be DOA.
Rep Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, is absolutely furious. "Absolutely inexcusable," he told CNBC, "absolutely indefensible. We cannot just walk away from our responsibilities."
Later, on CNN, King said: “They’re in New York all the time filling their pockets with money from New Yorkers. I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds. Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”
According to a House GOP aide, it was House Speaker John Boehner who decided to pull the plug on the Hurricane Sandy bill last night, after a majority of his caucus — including his top two deputies, House Majority Eric Cantor and Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy — voted against the fiscal cliff agreement because of concerns over spending.
An aide for Cantor said the Majority Leader supports the Sandy relief bill.
Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel told Business Insider that the Speaker is "committed to getting the bill passed this month," and has pointed out that FEMA has said it has enough money to fund relief efforts through March.
But the failure to act on the Senate Sandy relief bill now will force lawmakers back to square one when the 113th Congress begins later this month.
The delay has infuriated other New York lawmakers. Here's what they had to say:
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): "I couldn't be more frustrated by the partisan paralysis in Washington."
Sen. Chuck Schumer: "Speaker Boehner's failure to allow vote on Sandy bill is a disgrace & leaves NY residents without crucial aid to recover and rebuild."
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY): "This is an absolute disgrace and the speaker should hang his head in shame."
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY): "It is the wrong decision, and I'm going to be respectful and ask that the speaker reconsider his decision. Because it's not about politics, it's about human lives."
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY): "I truly feel betrayed this evening."
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY): " We need to be there for all those in need now after Hurricane Sandy."
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY): "In their hour of need, the Republican leadership has just walked away."
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