New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone had harsh words for John Boehner less than 24 hours after the speaker reneged on a promise to vote for Sandy aid spending, accusing him of throwing states like his and New York under the bus because they aren’t red states.
“I think this is totally because this is New York and New Jersey,” he said on PoliticsNation. “Boehner would not have done this if this was a red state. It’s because these are blue states.”
All three states that were hit hardest by superstorm Sandy gave their electoral votes to Obama in this last election and typically send more Democrats than Republicans to the House and Senate.
Pallone called Boehner’s handling of the Sandy aid vote, ”absolutely deplorable,” accusing him of being unwilling to ask his party to vote on the matter because of politics. “He was afraid of the tea party and the right-wing Republicans, that they shouldn’t have to vote for another spending bill, but this is at the expense of New Jersey and New York.”
He called the refusal to hold the vote “not American,” especially considering that the bill had the votes to pass already.
The congressman was not impressed or appeased by Boehner’s Wednesday afternoon announcement that he would push for votes starting this Friday, especially now that the package is being split into multiple parts. “There’s no guarantee that even if these three bills pass by the end of January that the Senate’s going to be able to take them up,” he said.
“We’ve been waiting nine weeks for this relief funding,” Pallone said. “Every other natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, tornado alley, they’ve all gotten the money much faster than nine weeks.”
He also complained that at this rate it will be 12 to 15 weeks before his district gets aid, even though his constituents are suffering today.
“If you go into my towns, they’re suffering. They’re not getting the money they need,” he said. ”We’re not going to be able to rebuild the shore unless we get this funding.”
Superstorm Sandy relief has become at a historically slow pace in comparison to comparable disasters in the last two decades. Hurricane Katrina aid took only 10 days to be approved, and totalled more than $105 billion.