Rep. Peter King (R-NY) took to the House of Representatives floor on Tuesday night to slam his fellow lawmakers for not voting on a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“Tonight’s action not to hold this vote is morally indefensible,” King said. “There are thousands and thousands of people throughout Long Island, Rockaway, Staten Island, New Jersey, throughout the Northeast, who are homeless tonight, who are without jobs, who lost their business. “This is absolutely indefensible.”
According to CBS News, the Senate approved a measure allocating $60.4 billion in aid to victims of the freak storm, which left 120 people dead while tearing through King’s home state, as well as New Jersey and several others along the Eastern seaboard.
The House Appropriations Committee had also prepared a $27 million aid package, which had been expected to be voted upon. But CBS News reported that, according to a House Republican aide, the House will leave the matter to the incoming Congress, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday.
King said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) provided the necessary paperwork to qualify for federal help.
“Everybody played by the rules, except tonight, when the rug was pulled out from under us,” he raged, hitting the podium. “Absolutely inexcusable. Absolutely indefensible. We have a moral obligation to hold this vote for people who are out of their homes. There are people who are cold. There are people who are without food. There are people who have lost their jobs. They don’t have the time to wait. We cannot just walk away from our responsibilities.”
King’s anger was shared across party lines; Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) told the Associated Press she felt “betrayed” by the House’s inaction, while Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) said it marked a first for him.
“I’m here tonight saying to myself for the first time that I’m not proud of the decision my team has made,” Grimm said. “It is the wrong decision, and I’m going to be respectful and ask that the [House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)] reconsider his decision. Because it’s not about politics, it’s about human lives.”
Watch King’s impassioned plea, posted Wednesday on YouTube by Think Progress, below.