Christie warns lawmakers not to short change New Jersey on Sandy relief aid

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) on Tuesday called on Washington to quickly deliver a multibillion dollar aid package to aid the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and warned that New Jersey residents will not be short changed.

"We as a state have waited 72 days, seven times longer than the victims of Hurricane Katrina waited," Christie said in his State of the State address in Trenton on Tuesday. "And one thing I hope everyone in America now clearly understands — New Jersey, both Republicans and Democrats, will never stand silent when our citizens are being short changed."

"We have stood with the citizens of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Iowa, Vermont, California and Missouri in their times of need — now I trust that they will stand with us," he added to standing applause from his State House audience.

The New Jersey governor has pressed the federal government to provide quick assistance to residents who were battered when the storm devastated coastal communities in the northeast last October.

Christie last week had sharp criticism for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who pulled a Sandy relief bill just before the end of the 112th Congress.

"There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their Speaker John Boehner," Christie said.

Boehner's decision led to criticism from New York and New Jersey lawmakers. GOP Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) warned that he might not support Boehner for Speaker.

Boehner, though, quickly called for a Friday vote on a $9.7 billion Sandy relief bill. The bill was signed by President Obama on Sunday.

Next Tuesday, the House is expected to vote on another bill providing an additional $17 billion in aid, and an amendment offering another $33.7 billion that would fund longer-term projects.

House passage of all or part of this bill next week could lead to Senate passage the week after, since the Senate returns for work on Jan. 22.