Schumer: 'Total change in attitude' from Boehner on Sandy relief

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Still, Schumer said it "would have been better" had the House voted on the full package Wednesday.

"At least this provides a clear path to having the $60 billion signed into law by the end of January," Schumer said. "Are there going to be a few bumps in the road? Well, that always happens with Congress."

The New York lawmaker also applauded comments by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who earlier Wednesday slammed House GOP leadership for its handling of the Sandy relief bill. At a press conference in New Jersey, Christie called the decision to table the bill "disappointing and disgusting to watch."

"This is something that's never been political, that's never been in dispute, and you can't let a group of 50 or 100 hard-right people who don't believe in a 100-year tradition of disaster aid run the show here. Speaker Boehner learned that the hard way," Schumer said, adding Christie had "said it right."

In a statement released later Wednesday, Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said they were working to assure lawmakers a vote would come soon on hurricane aid.

"Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress, and that was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations," the leadership duo said.