Too little, too late?
House Speaker John Boehner infuriated Democrats and Republicans alike Tuesday after cancelling a vote to deliver $60 billion in federal aid to areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Now, the badly needed money will have to be approved by the 113th Congress, which convenes Thursday.
After enduring fierce criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, Boehner bowed and scheduled a Jan. 15 vote on a $51 billion package, and a vote Friday for a $9 billion supplemental for flood insurance.
The GOPer did not say why he staved off the vote in the first place. But the attention he’s receiving, especially from Republicans, has been awfully uncomfortable.
Here’s a look at the top five infuriated GOP reactions:
1. Gov. Chris Christie: It’s “disgusting.” The outspoken New Jersey governor said there “was only one group to blame, the Republican Party and Speaker Boehner” over the decision to call off the vote. He criticized the “selfishness and duplicity” and the “callous indifference to the people of our state.” He added, “In our hour of desperate need, we’ve been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina with no end in sight.”
2. Rep. Peter King: It’s a “knife in the back.”
The New York congressman told Fox News that no one had told the House the vote wouldn’t be taken and that Boehner simply “walked off the floor.” He criticized his party saying “These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising million of dollars,” adding that Boehner’s move was a “Knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”
3. Rep. Michael Grimm: It’s “inexcusable”
The New York lawmaker said Tuesday night that he has “an extremely heavy heart,” he was “almost in disbelief and somewhat ashamed.” Grimm said, “It’s inexcusable. And I am here tonight saying to myself, for the first time, that I’m not proud of the decision my team has made.”
4. Rep. Chris Smith: “We’ve been devastated”
The disgruntled New Jersey Congressman said on the House floor that his state had been devastated. He said “I would hope the Speaker would bring this to the floor as quickly as possible because the people who have suffered—the victims—deserve no less.”
5. Rep. Frank LoBiondo: “I’ve never been this angry”
The New Jersey congressman told PolitickerNJ that he had been pleading with Boehner to hold the vote before the new Congress was inaugurated. “This is absurd. I’ve never been this angry…This could have been a poster child for bipartisanship, instead, this is what we have.”
Despite the criticism, Boehner did not lose his speakership on Thursday when the new Congress was sworn in.
Tune into Hardball tonight at 5 p.m. We’ll be talking about the regional split in the GOP, and how northeastern Republicans are making themselves heard on Sandy aid with Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Susan Milligan of U.S. News & World Report.