New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a Republican, blasted Speaker of the House John Boehner for ending the congressional session before voting on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
"I called the Speaker four times last night after 11:20 and he did not take my calls," said Christie, who said Congress had not delivered on the aid needed to clean-up after the hurricane and Boehner had avoided giving him answers as to why. "There’s no reason for me to believe anything they tell me, because they’ve been telling me stuff for weeks. And they didn’t deliver."
But one of the big objections to the bill was that Senate Democrats had filled it with pork.
In fact, "Democrats expanded the legislation during a mark-up to include not just areas affected by Sandy, but also to provide money for 'storm events that occurred in 2012 along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast within the boundaries of the North Atlantic and Mississippi Valley divisions of the Corps that were affected by Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac,'" we reported previously.
The expansion of the bill was a way to provide a financial incentive for senators from red states--"two Republicans senators from Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, and the one Republican senator from Louisiana"--to vote for the bill. "The Sandy kickbacks provide an incentive for those Republicans to vote on the bill," we wrote.
It is true that the Sandy bill in the House strips the legislation of at least some of the pork, but after yesterday's fight over the "fiscal cliff" deal it seems reasonable that Congress might not have been up for another battle just yet.
Nevertheless, the House leadership has promised that the Sandy bill will be the first priority for the next Congress, which will be sworn in tomorrow.
"Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress, and that was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations. The House will vote Friday to direct needed resources to the National Flood Insurance Program. And on January 15th, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress, the House will consider the remaining supplemental request for the victims of Hurricane Sandy," say Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a joint statement released after Christie's remarks.