UPDATE #2: Under fire, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor release a statement promising a quick vote on Hurricane Sandy relief…later:
“Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress, and that was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations. The House will vote Friday to direct needed resources to the National Flood Insurance Program. And on January 15th, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress, the House will consider the remaining supplemental request for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.”
UPDATE: A blistering joint statement hammering House Republicans from Govs. Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York and Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey:
“With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable,” the governors said. “It has now been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit and 27 days since President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bipartisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor. This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented.”
“The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.”
USA TODAY, as we’ll explain:
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio indicated late Tuesday the 112th Congress would end its term without voting on federal emergency aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
“The speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month,” Boehner’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in an email…
“I think it’s unprecedented for the United States Congress to walk away from a natural disaster,” [GOP Rep. Peter] King said, adding that he was not given a reason for the postponement. “This to me is just walking away from responsibility.”
King and Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island, who represents some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods, joined Democrats at an impromptu news conference to publicly plead for Boehner to reconsider.
Grimm described himself as “somewhat in disbelief and almost ashamed,” adding that he’s “not proud” of the decision his party has made.
Back in 2005, then-Rep. Tom Tancredo became the only member of the Colorado delegation, and one of only 11 representatives in the House to vote against the bill funding assistance for Hurricane Katrina victims. It’s a pattern we observed last year, when House Republicans led by Rep. Eric Cantor demanded cuts to offset emergency funding in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Here at home, we’ve got Rep. Doug Lamborn, who eagerly badmouths President Barack Obama’s “politicized” disaster declarations…until he needs one himself.
Each time this happens, we marvel at the political cluelessness on display–perhaps a popular move with a small percentage of, you know, heartless people, it’s a terrible attitude with which to win over soccer moms. In this case, Speaker John Boehner says he wants the bill to come to a vote, while conservative House members decry its “pork,” thinly concealing what appears to be a temper tantrum over the totally unrelated “fiscal cliff” compromise passed last night.
So ends the 112th Republican Congress.