New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave a press conference today following sending a letter to Congressional leaders along with Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.
It was a real barn burner and the focus of his righteous ire was the mess created by House Republicans. Members of his own political party, and specifically, Speaker John Boehner, screwed victims of Hurricane Sandy in the name of politics.
This was a speech that shows Gov. Christie was on the job and knew what his job was. Christie did what he was elected to do. The job of governing for the state of New Jersey and making sure that the state gets the aid it needed and was promised. He gave thanks to those who were involved in those efforts - including his long time political nemeses in Bob Menendez and other NJ Democrats, because they too were doing the job that they were elected to do - making sure that they got Sandy aid done.
He thanked the President, because he too got the job done.
You know who didn't? The GOP and Boehner in particular. It's been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit, and three weeks since the $60b aid package was submitted. The House has sat on the bill for three weeks.
They did nothing.
It speaks to the gross incompetence on the part of the GOP and the House in particular. There was no excuse.
Christie let them know it in no uncertain terms. This was a BS manufactured crisis (the fiscal cliff/debt ceiling/tax rate), and it's all on Congress for failing the people of New Jersey and New York and others affected by Sandy.
New Jersey (and New York) pay more to the feds than it gets back normally. Now, it's asking for assistance over a true natural disaster of massive proportions along the East Coast, and the GOP abdicated its responsibilities. In fact, the House specifically adjourned at 2pm today rather than taking up the bill and passing it.
Some GOPers and right wingers were carping on pork - or more specifically $400m in unrelated items. Yet, the final House version (the pair of bifurcated bills - itself a move to try and get something done on the part of Rep. Eric Cantor and the NJ delegation) and the Senate bill had excised that stuff leaving a clean bill.
There were no excuses. Nothing. All Christie got from Boehner's office was nothing but static, and Christie let everyone know he wont stand for that.
That's not bluster. That's calling it as it is.
After the Christie presser, Boehner attempted to make amends, and his compromise is to address about $9b in aid in a vote on Friday, with the balance of of $51b to be voted on January 15.
To some, this may seem like a fair deal, but that's absolute rubbish.
At no time in prior Congressional actions on natural disasters did they dither in this fashion.
At no time did Congress bifurcate a disaster aid package - essentially forcing two votes where only one was necessary.
There's no reason that the full $60b package couldn't be voted on today, or on Friday. The delays have real world consequences.
It affects contracting for restoration of infrastructure and projects critical to rebuilding. It delays private businesses from moving forward with their own rebuilding efforts since they need that infrastructure rebuilt before committing to their own rebuilding.
These delays are wholly on the GOP leadership and Speaker Boehner. And he deserves all the excoriation and derision directed at them because had this been put up to a straight floor vote, it would have been adopted handily.
Boehner and the GOP leaders played political games with the disaster aid.
Labels: Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, Congress, Eric Cantor, GOP, Hurricane Sandy, John Boehner, natural disasters, New Jersey, New York, rebuilding