Lawmakers and a top Republican aide said late Tuesday that Speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, appeared unwilling to introduce any Hurricane Sandy aid legislation before the chamber adjourns in the next day or so. If the legislation is not introduced before the session ends, it would have to be reintroduced in the new Congress and passed by both chambers.
The developments came after days in which top House Republicans left open the possibility that they would take up an aid package after coming under intense pressure from political leaders and lawmakers from the storm-ravaged region.
The storm spending bill was apparently a victim of bad timing. It has been eclipsed by negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over a plan intended to avert a series of tax increases and spending cuts that automatically took effect in the New Year.
As word spread that the leadership would not consider any storm spending package this session, a procession of New York and New Jersey lawmakers went to the House floor Tuesday night to denounce the Republican leadership, in particular the speaker.
“This is absolutely indefensible,” said Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island. “We have a moral obligation to hold this vote.”
Representative Nita M. Lowey, a Democrat from Westchester County, echoed the sentiment. “I truly feel betrayed this evening,” she said. “We can pass this bill tomorrow with bipartisan support.”
In the Senate, there was equal dismay. “It is truly heartless that the House will not even allow the Sandy bill to come to the floor for a vote, and Speaker Boehner should reconsider his ill-advised decision,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York.
The $60.4 billion bill would cover an assortment of pressing needs. It includes money to help homeowners and small-business owners rebuild; to repair bridges, tunnels and transportation systems; to reimburse local governments for overtime costs of police, fire and other emergency services; and to replenish shorelines.
That package would fall far short of the $82 billion that governors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have said would be needed to continue cleaning up and rebuilding after the storm.
But leaders from the region nonetheless embraced it as a good start that would enable local governments, businesses, homeowners and others hurt by the storm to undertake rebuilding projects with the confidence that federal aid was on the way.
Original article on The New York Times