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King suggests he might not vote for Boehner after Sandy move

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday suggested he might not vote for Speaker John Boehner to retain his job because of Boehner's decision against putting a Hurricane Sandy relief bill on the floor.

"Every vote that I cast from now on, I'm going wait until the last minute to decide how I should vote, not because of me, but how it's going to effect my region," King said on CNN in response to a question on whether he'd vote for Boehner at Thursday's elections for Speaker. 

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"My obligation is to my constituents, not to any individual, not to any party. It's to my country and to my constituents."

Asked if he was undecided on voting for Speaker, King said: "As far as I'm concerned my world turned upside down last night, so I am right now holding every vote in abeyance."

Boehner will meet with Republican members of the New York and New Jersey delegations Wednesday afternoon amid growing anger over his decision. He has promised to make the Sandy supplemental bill his first priority in the new Congress, according to a GOP aide. 

King, who represents Long Island and chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, called on northeasterners to withhold donations from the House GOP until Hurricane relief is approved.

"These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they're out raising millions of dollars," King said on Fox News. "They're in New York all the time filling their pockets with money from New Yorkers. I'm saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds, because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace."

On CNN, he said he had been "chasing the Speaker all over the House floor last night, trying to talk to him and his staff. And he kept telling me 'wait till the vote is over, wait till the fiscal cliff vote is over, everything will be taken care of' and then he was gone."

Every Republican voted for Boehner for Speaker when he was elected two years ago after his party regained control of the House. 

But Boehner's election this time will take place against the backdrop of a fiscal cliff deal opposed by a majority of House Republicans. 

And now the Speaker seems to have enraged Republicans from New York and New Jersey, who say their constituents need help after Hurricane Sandy.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday morning repeated his plea for House Republicans to take up a Sandy relief bill, and said Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had given conflicting signals on the issue.

"We should not be waiting, Mr. Speaker," Hoyer said on the House floor. "We should be voting this very morning, which … I expected to happen from my discussions with the majority leader."

King agreed with Hoyer that Boehner pulled the bill for reasons that still aren't known. In contrast, he said Cantor appeared to be working to keep the bill on the schedule.

"Last night I know that he was fighting to get the bill on the calendar," King said on the House floor of Cantor. "It was the Speaker, for whatever reason, walked off the floor and said that the bill was being pulled."

King also blasted Boehner for not telling members directly that the bill was being pulled, and said Boehner instead told an aide to Cantor, who then told members. King went on, saying Boehner's attitude is typical of many members' attitude toward people in the Northeast corridor.

"I consider myself a personal friend of John Boehner, and John Boehner personally has been very helpful to me over the years," King said.

"So it pains me to say this, but the fact is the dismissive attitude that was shown last night toward New York, New Jersey and Connecticut typifies, I believe, a strain in the Republican Party. I know this is not the place to discuss politics, but that politics seeps over into a governmental decision that was made.

"I can't imagine that type of indifference, that type of disregard, that cavalier attitude being shown to any other part of the country."

On CNN, King said Boehner had "actually yelled" at Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.). 

" 'I'm not meeting with you people.' " King said, quoting Boehner. "So he wouldn't tell us why. He just decided to sneak off in the dark of night."

Pete Kasperowicz contributed to this story.

This story was updated at 11:32 a.m.