Though Voting on Sandy Relief is in Sight, NY Lawmakers Still Question What Happened
After voting to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, House of Representative lawmakers from New York expressed outrage that there was no move to vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief supplemental appropriations bill before Congress adjourns tomorrow. On Friday, the U.S Senate passed a Sandy disaster relief package, and many congressional representatives said the majority support was also there to pass a bill in the House. After much criticism and pressure today, one House member says there is now a vote scheduled, one for the end of the week.
President Obama weighed in on the no-vote status today, urging a House vote on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill, hours after Republican House Speaker John Boehner signaled that he would postpone a vote until the new Congress is sworn in, which is tomorrow afternoon. Obama reportedly had also been in talks with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, both of whom have been waiting for the federal funds to help get parts of their states further along the road to recovery. Governor Cuomo, and others, have called the inaction “inexcusable”.
Here’s Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who spoke this morning on the House floor. He represents the 8th congressional district - parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
After the fiscal-cliff votes, many House members left, leaving mainly New York and New Jersey members to speak on the floor today.
Hudson Valley area Democratic Congressman-elect Sean Maloney, who succeeds Republican Nan Hayworth, had this to say about no vote.
Maloney will represent New York’s newly-drawn 18th Congressional District.
Representative Peter King, a Long Island Republican, says New York cannot afford the governmental costs from the storm without federal aid. King called the failure to vote in the House a "knife in the back" to New Yorkers, and he has suggested that he may not vote for Boehner to remain speaker in the next Congress.
King says the speaker will schedule a vote Friday for $9 billion dollars in flood insurance and another on January 15 for a remaining $51 billion in the package.
Again, here’s Congressman-elect Maloney.
In addition to the president’s call for a vote, the Working Families Party began circulating an emergency petition to call for a vote today. And House Speaker Boehner reportedly was meeting with House representatives earlier this afternoon to explain why the vote did not make it to the floor. It’s an explanation Congressman-elect Maloney would like to hear.
The U.S. Senate approved a $60.4 billion Sandy relief measure Friday. The Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee had drafted a $27 billion-dollar measure. Both were to provide federal aid for recovery from the late October storm that damaged or destroyed more than 300-thousand housing units and more than 265-thousand businesses in New York alone.