Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that his respect for Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., is “much greater today than it was a couple of days ago,” after he broke ranks and criticized House Speaker John Boehner’s failure to immediately vote on Hurricane Sandy relief.
The Senate previously passed a $60.4 billion bill that is set to expire Wednesday, if the House doesn’t vote. To compromise, Boehner guaranteed a vote on $9 billion for FEMA’s flood insurance to take place on Friday, the remaining funds will be decided upon January 15.
Gov. Christie was quick to express his outrage over Boehner’s poor judgment call, which Schumer said showed “a lot of courage.” Schumer also expressed his disagreement with this plan.
“Nine billion dollars isn’t close to enough,” he said Thursday on Andrea Mitchell Reports. “In fact, it’s just going to pay for flood insurance which runs out of money next week because we’ve had so much damage from floods, not just from Sandy.”
Schumer called the vote on the remaining $51 billion “key” and said the Senate is expecting the House to send them back the same bill they previously passed with some “tweaks.”
The New York senator mentioned that he blames much of the House Speaker’s problems in Congress on the extreme right.
“Speaker Boehner’s speakership will continue to be what many would call a disaster if he continues to let the 50 people on the hard right dictate policy,” Schumer told Mitchell. “They’re way out of the mainstream. They’re the reason we’ve had gridlock. They’re the reason that the Senate and the House don’t function and Congress doesn’t function. It is not equal blame between Democrats and Republicans or not even equal blame in the Republican Party.”
Schumer warns that if these 50 people continue to dictate policy, Boehner’s speakership will be disastrous because “these folks want to change the policy.”
Despite the outrage over the far right, Schumer did express his optimism for compromise on other key issues that will dominate the focus of the 113th Congress, specifically gun control.
“I hope we can come together in the middle,” Schumer said. “Not an extreme legislation that would scare those who have guns, use guns but at the same time will make our country safer. I think there’s a possibility for real compromise here.”
Schumer talked about the mood in the Senate, claiming it’s much better than the one in the House. He credited Sen. Mark Kirk's triumphant return to the Senate after suffering a debilitating stroke, as bringing members of Congress together.
“There’s a mood in the Senate between mainstream Democrats and Republicans to come together and they feel they can set the way for the House to follow.”