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CT Politicians Express Outrage Over Inaction on Sandy Bill

Members of the state Congressional Delegation took to the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday to lament the lack of action on the bill that would have sent aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The fiscal cliff may have been avoided, but for those waiting on relief from Congress for damages caused by Hurricane Sandy, the New Year's Day congressional session offered nothing but disappointment.

While the House of Representatives finally agreed to a last-minute compromise that cancelled out the tax hikes the majority of taxpayers would have faced for the new year, it failed to take action on a bill that would have provided aid to those who suffered damages from the historic Oct. 29 storm.

The Hartford Courant reports that three of the state's congressional representatives -- Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, Joseph Courtney, D-2, and Jim Himes, D-4, took to the House floor Wednesday morning to condemn its inaction.

The reaction after the hurricane by first responders, caregivers and local officials was stellar, Courtney said, according to the report in The Courant.

"The only place that hasn’t acted is the House of Representatives, which last night, in the dark of the night, the speaker announced that he was abandoning the people of Northeastern America and allowing the Hurricane Sandy relief bill to die,” Courtney said.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who with Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had urged Congress to act swiftly on the bill, said Wednesday that he had spoken to House Speaker John Boehner and was assured the bill would be brought up sometime this month, according to WCBS Newsradio 880.

“Your decision to postpone consideration of a disaster supplemental until after the 113th Congress commences likely delays delivery of relief for months, and therefore delays the process of rebuilding from Sandy,” Gov. Malloy wrote to Boehner Wednesday. 

“It sends a terrible message to the citizens of the affected states that the leadership of the House of Representatives feels no sense of urgency, with winter upon us, to aid fellow citizens in their great time of need as the Congress has done time and again when other natural disasters have devastated communities elsewhere in the country.”

Chris January 03, 2013 at 12:56 PM
You know what sends a REALLY terrible message to the citizens of the effected states? Loading the bill with some much pork that the majority of the 60+ billion dollars in there has little or nothing to do with Sandy relief. $150,000,000 for fish in Alaska? $125,000,000 to restore watersheds damaged by wildfires and drought? $8,000,000 for new cars for the feds? $15,000,000 to NASA, who said they had "minimal damage"? $2,000,000 to repair a leaking roof in DC that wasn't damaged in Sandy? The list goes on and on and on. I'm not saying any of those other projects aren't worthy of taxpayer funding. Most probably are. But they have nothing to do with helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Trying to speed up pet pet projects by slipping them into a bill to help people truly in need of immediate help is disgusting, and I don't care what political party is doing it.
Steve Raguskus January 03, 2013 at 01:31 PM
I agree that the idea of pork spending, especially on a bill like this, is disgusting. Unfortunately, until the system is reformed, it is the way votes are courted. But to say "Loading the bill with so much pork that the majority of the 60+ billion dollars in there has little or nothing to do with Sandy relief" is just not true. You gave examples of $400,000,000 of unrelated spending, which is less than 1% of the total cost of the bill. And if Speaker Boehner was truly concerned about these add-ons, he should have brought the bill to the floor and voiced his objections. Instead, supposedly because he was in a snit with Eric Cantor, he acted like a spoiled child and took his ball and went home. Leaving the people who have no home to go to without the government aid they need. A disgusting dereliction of duty.
RMK January 03, 2013 at 04:45 PM
You just detailed the game plan for every Congress in the history of Congress - and yet, somehow earmarks to Palin's Alaska (decidedly a red state, I might add) are a sticking point for the House Republicans. Go figure. There was ONE thing at work here and that was the hissy fit we've come to expect from our toddlers in the House Majority when they don't get their way. But the fit backfired when the Republicans who were affected by Hurricane Sandy - namely Christie and King - had their own hissy fits....aimed right back at the House Majority toddlers. Some fine theater, I might add. I'm hearing today that Boehner and his band of babies were cowed into backpedaling on that killed bill, and not because of their claim of earmarks-to-blame was dealt with. Oh, and by the way, one reason that Congressional Republicans are so ridiculous to work with in these last few years could definitely be attributed to not having leverage to pull them into a bipartisan deal. Earmarks, gang. Without some gravy, don't expect your Republicans to EVER be on the right and good side of anything.
Chris January 03, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Steve, I did say there were plenty more. $5.3 billion to study the impact of climate change. $100 million for the federal Head Start day care program. $180 million for new Amtrak lines (not repairs). $57 million for charting the debris from last year’s Japanese tsunami. $13 billion to mitigation projects to prepare for future storms. $17 billion for Community Development Block Grants. $59 million to plant trees on private property. $10.78 billion for public transportation, most of which is allocated to future construction and improvements, not disaster relief. I can still go on if you want. You would be hard pressed to find more then 20-30% of the bill actually going to Sandy victims. Again, I don't care if the pork spending is inserted by people with an R or a D after their name (it is both). I don't care if that's just the way things are done. It's still wrong no matter who does it. It's still wrong no matter who benefits from it.

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