Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner blocked an expected vote late Tuesday night that would have allowed an immediate appropriation of $27 billion for victims of Hurricane Sandy, much to the chagrin of legislators from both parties, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Now, given the conclusion of the 112th Congress, the bill must be rewritten and presented to the 113th Congress during their new sessions this week.
"Our people were played last night as a pawn,” Christie told reporters Wednesday morning, after disclosing that he had called Boehner repeatedly to no avail.
Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), issued a statement blasting Boehner for turning hurricane relief into a what he deemed a political issue.
However, despite Sires’ blame, some legislators placed blame solely on Boehner, saying that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been at the forefront of pushing Sandy relief through Congress.
The vote would have followed the Senate’s approval of a $60 billion aid package that worried House Republicans to the point where they split the package in two: the $27 billion that would have been voted on and immediately released to Sandy victims, and the $33 billion that would be more closely vetted and voted on at the beginning of the next Congress’ session.
“Congress has always come together after natural disasters to immediately provide the necessary assistance to help communities recover and rebuild,” said Sires’ statement. “The damage done by Sandy is far beyond the resources and capacity that any single state possesses to recover on its own. The current recovery funding for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will run out soon.” – Dean DeChiaro