Politicians blast Sandy aid delay; House promises Friday vote
Politicians blasted the House of Representatives today for delaying a bill that would flood Sandy-affected areas with billions of dollars of aid.
The House was scheduled to consider a $60.4 billion package, already passed by the Senate, but abruptly cancelled the vote late Tuesday night.
New York politicians erupted in anger, saying people have waited too long already since the Oct. 29 storm and need funds to rebuild. Money would be allotted for everything from paying for subway repairs to repairing city infrastructure.
After the outrage, House Speaker John Boehner promised today that he wanted to push through the aid bill this month.
Republican Rep. Peter King said this afternoon the House will vote on $9 billion in federal assistance Friday.
Earlier, King told New York and New Jersey residents to stop donating to his own party, describing the delay as an “absolute disgrace.”
Valerie Close, a Rockaway resident who became an activist and organizer after Sandy, said she was disappointed by the Congressional delay. Her home only got power back a week ago, she added.
“A lot of people were hoping that we would get some positive news from Congress to pass that bill, because we need to start rebuilding, we need to start helping people to return home,” she said. “I think people are really disappointed that it’s on the back burner while people are still suffering.”
Even President Barack Obama joined the fray, demanding passage before the Congressional session ends at noon Thursday.
If the bill is not passed before the session ends, it would be tabled until the new Congress begins, restarting the legislative process.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the delay in a blistering string of criticisms today after an unrelated press conference.
“It was a disgrace,” he said. “It was a dereliction of duty. … To leave New York and New Jersey and thousands of people in this holiday season on their own and abandoned was wrong and disgraceful.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has taken to Twitter to blast the inaction, tweeting, “NJ and NY are tired of being treated like second class citizens.”