WASHINGTON -- Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is going after his fellow House Republicans after party leaders pulled a Hurricane Sandy relief bill from a floor vote on Tuesday, saying that New York and New Jersey residents should stop giving these lawmakers political contributions.
"I'm saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds," he said in an interview on Fox News. "Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace."
The House adjourned on Tuesday night without passing the $60.4 billion Sandy relief package that the Senate approved last week. The 113th Congress will be sworn in on Thursday, meaning that the House and Senate would have to restart the entire legislative process if it takes it up.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told CNN that money will be approved in the next Congress.
"FEMA has plenty of money, there's no immediate needs," he said, referring to the federal agency that distributes disaster relief.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said in early December that the agency had $4.8 billion to distribute and could fund Sandy programs through early spring -- a comment that House Republicans have pointed to as a reason not to rush the bill. But President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on House Republicans to bring the bill to a vote immediately.
"When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need," the president said in a statement. "I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans."
In a CNN interview Wednesday morning, King criticized Rogers for his comment.
"First, he doesn't know what he's talking about," said King on CNN. "Besides that, Hal Rogers has no problem coming to New York and raising money to put money in his pocket when he wants to raise it from New Yorkers. Secondly, the FEMA money was limited to $31,000 [for individuals]. That's not going to rebuild businesses."
"Hal Rogers can play his game. He can suck up to the Republican speaker if he wants to, but ... stay out of New York. Raise your money down in Kentucky," he added.
King also raised the possibility that he would vote against reelecting House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to his leadership post in the 113th Congress, saying, "My world turned upside-down last night, so I'm holding every vote in abeyance for now."
King has been one of the most vocal lawmakers criticizing House leadership for the move, although he is far from alone. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) have denounced the GOP leadership, while Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) apologized to his constituents on the House floor for the lack of passage, saying, "I did all I could." New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has announced he will hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. about the issue.
Part of the reason that members seem so upset is that they felt like they were duped and given the run-around.
"I was chasing the Speaker all over the House floor last night, trying to talk to him and his staff," said King on CNN. "He kept telling me wait until the vote is over, wait until the fiscal cliff vote is over, everything will be taken care of. And then he was gone. He refused to meet with us. He actually yelled at Congressman [Frank] LoBiondo, saying, 'I'm not meeting with you people.'"
Amid the outrage, Boehner is scheduled to meet with members of the New York and New Jersey delegation at 3:00 p.m.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Huffington Post that the speaker is "committed to getting this bill passed this month."
Also on HuffPost:
President Barack Obama
In a hastily organized press briefing at the White House, Obama said Monday that his race with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is the furthest thing from his mind as the East Coast braces for what could be its worst storm in history. "I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. I am worried about the impact on families. I am worried about the impact on our first responders," he said. "The election will take care of itself next week." ... He also sent out a campaign email on Monday urging supporters to heed advice from local authorities and extending an early thank you to first responders. “Michelle and I are keeping everyone in the affected areas in our thoughts and prayers. Be safe,” reads the email, signed by Obama. -- <em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-obama_n_2042403.html?1351610452">HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery and Lynne Peeples </a></em>
Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took a moment in an overflow room ahead of a campaign rally Monday to express his concern for those in the path of Hurricane Sandy and encourage the people of Ohio to do what they could to help those out east. “I want to mention that our hearts and prayers are with all the people in the storm's path," he said in Avon Lake, Ohio. "Sandy is another devastating hurricane by all accounts, and a lot of people are going to be facing some real tough times as a result of Sandy's fury." He went on to encourage those who can afford it to make a donation to the Red Cross. "If there are other ways that you can help, please take advantage of them because there will be a lot of people that are going to be looking for help and the people in Ohio have big hearts, so we're expecting you to follow through and help out," he said. Romney concluded the rally by echoing his comments from the overflow room. "This looks like another time we all need to come together," he said. -- <em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/mitt-romney-hurricane-sandy_n_2039620.html?1351610466">HuffPost's Elise Foley</a></em>
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) continued his praise of President Barack Obama's work responding to Hurricane Sandy, using a press briefing Monday evening to note that he appreciated the "leadership" Obama was showing in the emergency. Christie, a prominent surrogate for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said that he and Obama had a private phone conversation on Monday to discuss how the federal government could help New Jersey. He said that Obama told Christie that he could call him directly over the next 48 hours if the state government had issues with federal response to the hurricane in New Jersey. “I appreciate that type of leadership," Christie said of Obama. The Republican governor said most of the call centered on Obama's concern for New Jersey and then he continued to heap praise on the president, saying Obama's work has been "proactive." Christie shortened a campaign trip for Romney to return to New Jersey to handle the storm response. Christie started his praise of Obama during press briefings on Sunday, when he said "appreciated" Obama's outreach to him and the governors of other states being impacted by Hurricane Sandy. During a press briefing on Monday afternoon, Christie described another call he had with Obama and said that the president and his aides have been working to benefit New Jersey. “We appreciate the president’s efforts in that regard," Christie said earlier Monday. "He and his staff worked tremendously hard.” -- <em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/chris-christie-sandy-obama_n_2041673.html">HuffPost's John Celock</a></em>
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Newark Mayor Cory Booker
Former Vice President Al Gore
This week, our nation has anxiously watched as Hurricane Sandy lashed the East Coast and caused widespread damage--affecting millions. Now more than ever, our neighbors need our help. Please consider donating or volunteering for your local aid organizations. The images of Sandy’s flooding brought back memories of a similar--albeit smaller scale-- event in Nashville just two years ago. There, unprecedented rainfall caused widespread flooding, wreaking havoc and submerging sections of my hometown. For me, the Nashville flood was a milestone. For many, Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a similar event: a time when the climate crisis—which is often sequestered to the far reaches of our everyday awareness became a reality. While the storm that drenched Nashville was not a tropical cyclone like Hurricane Sandy, both storms were strengthened by the climate crisis. Scientists tell us that by continually dumping 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day, we are altering the environment in which all storms develop. As the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, storms are becoming more energetic and powerful. Hurricane Sandy, and the Nashville flood, were reminders of just that. Other climate-related catastrophes around the world have carried the same message to hundreds of millions. Sandy was also affected by other symptoms of the climate crisis. As the hurricane approached the East Coast, it gathered strength from abnormally warm coastal waters. At the same time, Sandy's storm surge was worsened by a century of sea level rise. Scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, these problems will only grow worse. Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
"Our thoughts and prayers rest with the families, friends, and loved ones of all those who have lost their lives in the course of Hurricane Sandy, and our hearts go out to the millions of Americans waking up to destruction and devastation in their homes and communities today. "We are all grateful to the rescue workers and first responders working around-the-clock to save lives, restore power, and deal with the immediate aftermath of the storm. Federal, state, and local authorities have worked hand-in-hand to prepare for and respond to this natural disaster, and we will continue to do so as Americans begin to take stock of the damage, recover, and rebuild. "All Members of Congress stand ready to offer our aid and assistance to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. As we have done in the past, the American people will stand united to confront the impact of this storm and start the work of recovery."
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
Rep. Steve Austria (R-Ohio)
Former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.)
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
“Hurricane Sandy hit New York and the Northeast hard last night and will complicate life in our region for the coming days. I am astounded at what I have seen in my own congressional district: flooding throughout Coney Island, Battery Park City, and other areas; widespread power outages; felled trees everywhere you look; and some very tragic fatalities. I am grateful to our local responders and laborers, who are doing a tremendous job on emergency response. And, through the President’s declaration of New York as a major disaster area, we will be able to immediately allocate FEMA funds to begin to repair the billions of dollars in damage locally and bring relief to New Yorkers whose lives have been turned upside down.”