President Barack Obama demanded on Wednesday that Republicans hold a vote on $60 billion in funding for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, which was set to be approved Tuesday night before House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) suddenly took the bill the table amid acrimonious talks on the nation’s fiscal situation.
“It has been only two months since Hurricane Sandy devastated communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as other eastern states,” Obama’s prepared statement explained. “Our citizens are still trying to put their lives back together. Our states are still trying to rebuild vital infrastructure. And so, last month, working closely with the Governors of the affected states, I sent Congress an urgent request to support their efforts to rebuild and recover.”
The president added: “The Senate passed this request with bipartisan support. But the House of Representatives has refused to act, even as there are families and communities who still need our help to rebuild in the months and years ahead, and who also still need immediate support with the bulk of winter still in front of us.”
“When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need,” he concluded. “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.”
Boehner’s unexplained decision to delay a vote on Sandy relief efforts outraged Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who later said that he might actually quit the Republican Party in protest.
“We are a two-party system,” he said on CNN Wednesday, appearing near tears during the segment. “But I’m over that because as the very least, you’re expected to be treated fairly… When your people are literally freezing in the winter and they’re without food and their without shelter and they’re without clothing and my own party refuses to help them, then why should I help the Republican Party?”
One of Boehner’s aides told The Hill that Congress would delay approving relief funds until later in January, once new members are sworn in.