Schumer rips Boehner, Issa, Rogers over hurricane aid

The Senate’s No. 3 Democrat on Wednesday directed his ire specifically at Boehner, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)

ADVERTISEMENT
Schumer suggested that Boehner pulled the plug in part to punish House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who had played the leading role in crafting a Sandy compromise plan. 

Cantor was set to bring a $27 billion Sandy bill to the floor and allow members to increase it to the $60 billion level passed in the Senate by amendment.

“We got caught in a crossfire of Beltway leadership squabbling,” Schumer said. “New York and New Jersey residents feel that there was a betrayal by Speaker Boehner.”

He also criticized Issa for saying the bill contained pork-barrel spending. He said Issa needs to come to New York and tell that to homeowners who cannot get money yet to rebuild their homes. 

“I’d like Darrell Issa to sit eye-to-eye and tell that homeowner that that is pork,” Schumer yelled. 

“I am infuriated by Hal Rogers, who said there is no pressing need,” he said, saying Rogers needs to meet with New York residents. 

Rogers has said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund still has money, but Schumer said relief for homeowners is capped at $31,000 by FEMA and that is far too low in the New York metropolitan area. 

Schumer said that getting Congress back on Wednesday to pass the bill, before the Senate version dies on Thursday, is all but impossible.

“We are going to have start over in the new Congress,” he said. 

He noted the Senate Democratic Caucus will have two more members in the new Congress that starts Thursday, but said getting conservatives in the House on board will remain a problem.

Schumer said he was confident that had the Sandy bill come to the floor in this Congress, enough Republicans would have joined a nearly unanimous Democratic vote to pass the bill at $60 billion. 

More in Finance

Republican rips GOP over budgets

Read more »