GOP Rep: A ‘knife in the back’ on Sandy aid

This story has been updated.

New York lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are upset with House leaders for adjourning without a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. 

House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office has said the House will address the package "this month" -- meaning in the next session of Congress, which begins Thursday. The Senate passed the $60.4 billion aid bill on Tuesday. 

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) called the decision "a personal betrayal." "There was an error in judgment that is going to cost, I think, the trust of the American people," he said. 

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) agreed, calling the decision "a knife in the back" of New Yorkers. "This should not be the Republican Party, this should not be the Republican leadership." He attacked what he described as Boehner's "dismissive attitude," saying it "typifies a strain in Republican politics." 

In an earlier interview on Fox News, King urged New Yorkers to boycott his party. "I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds," he said. 

 House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday night, shortly before the "fiscal cliff" vote, that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was "99.9 percent confident that this bill would be on the floor, and that's what he wanted." 

Democrats from the area were, on this issue, aligned with their Republican colleagues.  Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) held a press conference Wednesday morning urging Republican leadership to call lawmakers back for a vote. 

After speaking to Cantor, Schumer said he did not think it was possible for Republicans to vote on the package in this Congress. Some of the members who were planning to vote on the package are already out of town. "We'd lose, and we'd rather not lose," Schumer told reporters. Instead, he was pushing for the funding to be the first order of business when the new Congress comes back at the end of January. He said he was not optimistic that the House would vote on the aid when they reconvene on Thursday.

The Democrat said that Cantor had "been truly helpful" in trying to pass the aid package but that, in Schumer's opinion, Boehner was undercutting his fellow Republican as part of am " inside the leadership Beltway squabble." He speculated that because Cantor voted against the "fiscal cliff" deal, Boehner did not want to help him with Sandy aid.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also responded angrily to the news by calling on Boehner to visit the storm-ravaged region.

The speaker "chould come to Staten Island and tell families trying to rebuild their businesses why they need to wait longer for help," Gillibrand said in a statement. "He should come to the Rockaways and tell families trying to rebuild their homes why they need to wait longer for help. But I doubt he has the dignity nor the guts to do it."

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) also released a harshly critical statement:
"Never before has this country walked away from its obligation to help Americans in the wake of a natural disaster, but today, the House Republican Leadership told New Jersey and New York to drop dead. I cannot recall a congressional act to be so inconsistent with our core principle that we are the United States of America than the House Republican Leadership's decision to kill a vote on the Sandy relief package.

Meanwhile, some Republicans defended the decision to push off a Sandy vote. “Your two senators packed this with pork,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said on Fox News Wednesday morning, referring to Schumer and Gillibrand. He said he would vote for a smaller relief package in the next Congress. 

Boehner will meet with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations at 3 p.m.

Ed O'Keefe and Philip Rucker contributed to this story.

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