House members to Boehner: ‘Shame on you’ for not holding Sandy vote

House members of both parties blasted Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) late Tuesday night for deciding against holding any vote on a Hurricane Sandy supplemental aid bill before the end of the 112th Congress.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) started the discussion on the House floor by saying he had just been informed that the House would not be taking any other votes in the 112th Congress and so would not be taking up a Sandy bill until the next Congress.

“This Congress is apparently leaving town without responding to that emergency,” Hoyer said. “I am deeply disappointed … and the people who have been damaged by Sandy, including Gov. [Chris] Christie, a Republican, and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo, a Democrat, should be deeply disappointed, and yes, angry, that this Congress would adjourn without addressing the pain of our fellow citizens.”

{mosads}Hoyer was followed by several angry Republicans and Democrats, many of whom said Boehner should be ashamed for not taking up a Sandy bill.

“Unprecedented, disgusting, unworthy of the leadership of this House,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on the floor of the decision by House leaders. “They should reconsider, or they should hang their heads in shame.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as angry as I am tonight,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said. “For us in the Northeast to be treated this way is absolutely unconscionable. Tonight I am ashamed. Shame on you, Mr. Speaker.”

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has indicated that a Sandy relief bill is not as desperately needed as some say, since the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) still has enough funds to deal with cleanup efforts at least partway into 2013.

Republicans have also balked at the cost of the Senate-passed Sandy bill, which proposes $60 billion in new spending. Republicans in the House and Senate have proposed bills that are less than half that size, and say many items in the Senate bill don’t deal with Sandy-related emergencies.

Reports late Tuesday night said House Republicans will get to a Sandy bill later in the month. Nonetheless, many Republicans also took to the floor Tuesday night and were equally upset with Boehner’s decision, although they were less confrontational.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I stand here, almost in disbelief and somewhat ashamed,” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said. “It’s inexcusable. And I am here tonight saying to myself, for the first time, that I’m not proud of the decision my team has made.”

“Tonight’s action not to hold this vote on the supplemental is absolutely indefensible,” Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) gave out the number for the House switchboard and suggested that Americans should call “and ask the Congress and ask the Speaker, please reconsider.”

“We cannot leave here doing nothing. That would be a disgrace,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

Members from the House were still speaking about the issue until just before midnight, long after passing the “fiscal cliff” deal.

When a motion was made to adjourn, a loud cry of “no” was heard, but the Republican presiding officer said the “ayes” had it, which angered members even further.

— This story was updated at 12:31 a.m., Wednesday.

Tags Boehner Eric Cantor John Boehner

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