New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) both have well-earned reputations as political brawlers not to be messed with. Many a Democrat has felt the lash of their scorn and the blunt-force trauma inflicted by their sharp political elbows. But now House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is the focus of their opprobrium by putting off a vote on federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
King declared Boehner’s decision not to take action on the $60 billion Sandy bill for New York and New Jersey “disgraceful.” He said that Congress was “writing off” the two states. As a result, King thundered, “[T]hey’re gonna have a hard time getting my vote, I can tell you that.” He also called on his fellow New Yorkers to starve the House Republican members of their financial donations. Another Republican New Yorker, Rep. Michael Grimm of hard-hit Staten Island, called the House’s inaction “a betrayal.”
For his part, Christie released a joint statement with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
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.
That and the rest of the statement was, by Christie standards, rather tame. But when he stands before the cameras at a 2 p.m. press conference, don’t be surprised by what comes out of his mouth. He’s taken people’s heads off for having the temerity to ask him a reasonable question. Imagine what he’ll say when asked on live television about the unreasonable inaction in Washington that is having a direct impact on the people of New Jersey. All I can say is, buckle up.