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Queens Chronicle

Anger, outrage over Sandy bill snubbing

House Speaker pulls relief package

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Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:35 am, Thu Jan 10, 2013.

Hurricane Sandy victims waiting for money from the federal government will have to wait a little longer.

A $60 billion relief package for Sandy victims was scheduled to come to a vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday after the fiscal cliff bill, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pulled the bill in a surprise move that led to shock and outrage from local members of Congress.

“In the days after Sandy, House Republican leadership told us they were with us, they supported us,” Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said on Wednesday. “Last night, we learned the truth.”

The plan was to split the relief money into two bills — one for $27 billion in immediate relief and another for roughly $33 billion in funding that was more controversial — but neither bill was voted on and Boehner said Wednesday he would pursue the bills in the 113th Congress, which begins Thursday. He was scheduled to meet with Congressmembers from New York and New Jersey on Wednesday afternoon.

Some in the GOP caucus from outside the disaster zone have expressed opposition to the relief bill because of questionable earmarks.

But Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) responded to those complaints, specifically from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who compared some Sandy relief money to “pork.”

“[Issa] should sit face-to-face with a homeowner who lost their home and tell that homeowner to their face that that’s pork,” Schumer said.

In a joint statement with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Cuomo blasted the House for failing to schedule a vote, calling it “a dereliction of duty.”

“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,” the statement read. “When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.”

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