Though the House of Representatives managed to pass legislation before falling over the fiscal cliff, it didn’t vote on a $60 billion Sandy relief package before the end of the current house session on Wednesday.
But this afternoon Speaker John Boehner said that the House would vote on the storm aid by January 15.
That statement followed a chorus of criticism from local politicians who know how desperate their constituents are for the relief money.
“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,” said Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie in a joint statement.
Katrina emergency relief legislation was passed less than month from the time the hurricane hit. It’s been 66 days since Sandy devastated parts of the Northeast.
“New Yorkers continue to suffer from the havoc Sandy wreaked upon our region, and they desperately need help now,” said U.S. congressmember-elect Grace Meng, who will be sworn in tomorrow in Washington D.C.
“I call on House Republicans to reconsider their misguided decision, and immediately hold a vote in the opening days of the new congress. People cannot wait any longer,” she continued.
The next House session, which starts Thursday, will include Meng and the other newly elected members.
Congressmember Steve Israel, who represents areas of Queens and Long Island, echoed the outrage of other politicians.
“In the very last minute they pulled the rug from under us,” he told Fox 5 New York. “When it came to New Yorkers and people in NJ they said no. It is simply indefensible. There is going to be a delay in getting these funds to the people who need them. It was John Boehner and Eric Cantor who turned their backs on New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.”