People in New York and New Jersey are huddled in the cold and dark and apparently the US Congress cannot manage to vote for Superstorm Sandy relief before they go on their vacations.
Nothing I am about to say should in anyway suggest that I take what happened in New Orleans less seriously, but there is one major difference between the (unacceptably) slow-moving reconstruction aid in Louisiana vs. the Northeast in autumn and winter: the weather.
Today in New Orleans, it’s mid 50’s sweater weather. Nobody’s going to freeze to death there in homes that are without power. In the NYC metro area, it’s 24 derees at the hour I am writing this. People can die from exposure in that kind of cold.
John Boehner is so captive to the likes of Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan that he is refusing to allow the Sandy aid vote to come to the floor. Even GOP lawmakers from the Northeast are taken aback by this willingness to let fellow Americans freeze to death for the sake of politics. The New York Post quoted Rep. Michael Grimm protesting House Speaker John Boehner’s decision not to allow the vote for Sandy relief:
For the first time, I’m not proud of the decision my team has made. I’m going to be respectful and ask that the speaker reconsider his decision. It’s not about politics, it’s about human lives and human dignity and I pray that he understands that.
We just celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, an Executive Order that had no precedent. The most recent President Bush started two wars and spent gazillions of dollars on them without getting prior Congressional approval.
If Congress REFUSES TO DO THEIR JOB AND EVEN VOTE ON TIME CRITICAL LEGISLATION, then the President has ample reason to step in with emergency Executive Orders giving Sandy relief in a timely fashion. Congress has forced this on him by their own inaction. Further, he can force them to stay in session until they do their jobs and vote on a Sandy package.
How dare they vacation while their fellow Americans are freezing.
Because of redistricting, today is the last day that Pete King is my Congressman. It is also the first day that I am proud to have him speak for me. This is what he had to say on FOX:
No one even told us, the Speaker walked off the floor, told an aide to the Majority Leader that the Congress was finished. There were no votes and they come back and told us. Listen, I’m not taking this as personal offense. I’m talking about the thousands of people in my district, hundreds of thousands of people throughout the New York-New Jersey area. Within 10 days after Katrina, $60 billion was appropriated. Nine weeks after Sandy, not one penny has been appropriated. And let me just make this one point. These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars. They’re in New York all the time filling pockets with money from New Yorkers. I’m saying anyone from New York and New Jersey who contributes one penny to Congressional Republicans is out of their mind. Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, it was an absolute disgrace.
Why does the Republican party have this bias against New York, this bias against New Jersey, this bias against the Northeast. They wonder why they’re becoming minority party. Why the they will be a party in permanent minority. What they did last night was so immoral, so disgraceful, so irresponsible. They’re supposed to be the party of family values. And you have families that are starving, families that are suffering, families that are spread all over living in substandard housing.
This was a disgrace. They are inexcusable.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but — what Pete said!