House Speaker John Boehner has been blasted by a slew of local elected officials for delaying the vote on the Hurricane Sandy federal aid package, but at least one politician in New York City appreciates the way he handled the situation. Yesterday, all but two of the sitting City Council members joined Council Speaker Christine Quinn in sending a letter to Mr. Boehner calling his decision to delay the vote “heartless and unfair.” However, Councilman Dan Halloran did not sign on and instead sent a letter of his own to Mr. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in which he expressed his appreciation that the House delayed the Sandy package that was approved by the Senate because it contained too much unrelated pork and his desire for Congress to pass a more “responsible” bill than the one currently on the table.
“As a fiscal conservative and a hawk on reckless government spending, I appreciate the House’s desire to create a responsible bill that will provide the necessary aide [sic] to the affected areas,” Mr. Halloran wrote. “The federal government must act immediately to pass a bill that will address these storm related costs without creating a slush fund of pet projects around the country and around the world.”
In his letter, Mr. Halloran listed some of the elements of the Sandy aid bill that was approved by the Senate that he finds unnecessary.
“The United States Senate passed a bill that would have provided some of the much needed money, but it also provided funds for overseas embassies, new federal vehicles, last year’s tsunami in Japan, improvements to the Kennedy Space Center and fisheries in places as far from the east coast as Alaska,” explained Mr. Halloran.
Mr. Halloran’s letter to Mr. Boehner was identical to the one he sent Mr. Reid.
The letter from the other Council members to Mr. Boehner described his delay of the vote on the Sandy bill as a “disgrace:”
“Like many Americans, we are outraged and disappointed that the U.S. House of Representatives left the current session without appropriating the $60.4 billion in emergency spending for victims of Hurricane Sandy. There was support for this package on both sides of the aisle, and it’s a disgrace that the funding was neither allocated nor even voted on by the House. Congress must make this their first priority and vote on it immediately when they return to Washington.”
Mr. Boehner has vowed to hold a vote on a Sandy aid package by January 15.
Mr. Halloran is not the only Council member who didn’t sign the letter to Mr. Boehner. Councilman Erik Dilan was not included among the initial signatories, but his office told Politicker he was out of town and has since signed on. Councilman Charles Barron also did not sign the letter. We reached out to Mr. Barron to see whether he intends to eventually sign or objects to its contents but, as of this writing, we have not received a response.
View Mr. Halloran’s letter to Mr. Boehner and the one sent by the other Council members below.