WASHINGTON, D.C.— House Republicans set efforts to pass a bipartisan Superstorm Sandy emergency disaster relief bill back to square one when they refused to vote on legislation approved by the Senate Tuesday.
GOP leadership decided to put the issue aside until the 113th Congress, which begins at noon on Thursday. At that time, any Sandy relief bill would have to start again from the beginning of the legislative process.
Denying emergency aid to Superstorm Sandy victims is a new low for House Republicans,” said U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ.) “When our neighbors in other states are knocked down by emergency events, we put partisan politics aside and extend a helping hand to help them get back up. Helping struggling families recover from disasters has never been a partisan issue in Washington and it never should be. New Jersey and New York families have been hurt badly by Sandy and it is shameful that Washington Republicans are adding to their pain by standing in the way of their recovery.”
“I feel it is a personal betrayal,” said Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican from New York. “But I think more importantly, when you parse out all the politics, the people of this country that have been devastated are looking at this as a betrayal by the Congress and by the nation, and that is just untenable and unforgivable.”
Gov. Chris Christie and New York state Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo released this joint statement:
“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. 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.
“The people of our states can no long afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games.”