Odd Man Out
A new poll out from the liberal-leaning firm Public Policy Polling shows just how much dislike Congress. While polls typically simply show lawmakers’ low approval ratings, PPP decided to take a different route and poll approval ratings for Congress compared to other wildly unpopular things. Amazingly, Congress polled even lower than a slew of them including lice, traffic jams, root canals, colonoscopies, cockroaches and the ancient Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan.
“When you’re less popular than cockroaches, Genghis Khan, traffic jams, and yes even Nickelback, well, it might be time to reevaluate,” Tom Jensen, PPP’s director, said in a statement accompanying the poll.
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.”
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Speaker of the House John Boehner is taking heat from all sides for delaying the decisive vote on the post-Hurricane Sandy federal aid package. Even his fellow Republicans have blasted Mr. Boehner. Many of the local Democrats who jumped into the fray used the motif of the famous 1975 Daily News cover that implied Gerald Ford told the city to “drop dead” when he vowed to veto federal aid to the five boroughs in their assessments of Mr. Boehner’s conduct. Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson explicitly credited his source material in his shot at Mr. Boehner.
“The decision by House Speaker John Boehner to postpone a vote on Hurricane Sandy aid for the New York region is a travesty of epic proportions,” Mr. Thompson said in a statement. “The move is reminiscent of the famous newspaper headline from the 1970’s when the federal government refused to help New York City in a time of need. ‘Boehner to City: Drop Dead’ is an appropriate headline for the Speaker’s actions.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement this afternoon urging the House of Representatives to quickly approve the White House-backed $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy supplemental aid package. The Senate is expected to vote on the recovery funds today, and Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he is optimistic it will be approved. Getting approval for the aid package from the GOP majority in the House, however, is expected to be more difficult. In his statement, Governor Cuomo urged the House to clear the funds without extended debate.
“The members of the House will be in Washington this weekend and, while a fiscal cliff deal remains elusive, passing the Sandy aid package should not be a matter impacted, much less stalled, by the same partisan contention or parliamentary process,” the governor said. “Our demonstrated need and the House’s past precedent should make this vote a slam dunk.”
South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott, who has reportedly been chosen to replace Jim DeMint as that state’s senator by Governor Nikki Haley, has had a heavenly helping hand during his time in Washington. A volunteer named Tim Taylor has led a group of “prayer team warriors” who have organized on Mr. Scott’s campaign website and prayed for God to give the congressman guidance and protection. Mr. Taylor told Politicker the team has been praying for Mr. Scott, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, throughout his career.
“The prayer team has been active for many years now and we’ve prayed for Tim consistently,” said Mr. Taylor. “I’m just committed to it. I’ve known Tim for a long time and, you know, I’ve just felt led to pray for him.”
In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that, as of this writing, left at least 27 people dead including the alleged gunman and 18 children, Congressman Jerry Nadler issued an impassioned statement calling for stricter gun control legislation.
“I am absolutely horrified by news of the cold-blooded shooting of dozens of children in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children,” Mr. Nadler said. “We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”
A new poll indicates South Carolina voters want Governor Nikki Haley to make comedian Stephen Colbert their senator now that Jim DeMint is leaving Capitol Hill to become president of the Heritage Foundation. The survey, from the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling, found 20 percent of South Carolinians want Mr. Colbert, who is a grew up in the Palmetto State, to get the job.
Don't Call it a Comeback
Governor Andrew Cuomo spent the day in Washington yesterday lobbying for the approximately $40 billion in federal aid he is asking for to help the state recover from Hurricane Sandy. Politicker spoke with sources familiar with the governor’s schedule to get details on how he spent his time and who he met with on his first trip to Washington since taking office.
“The governor hit the trifecta; the White House, the Majority Leader and the speaker,” an administration official said.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner has kept a relatively low profile in the year-and-change since a scandal over lewd Twitter messages led to his resignation, but last week, he took to the pages of the New York Daily News to write an op-ed with Congressman Gregory Meeks highlighting the post-Sandy needs of the Rockaways. Mr. Weiner’s editorial struck many observers as a “step back onto the political stage,” but Mr. Meeks told Politicker he doesn’t think a return to the public eye was part of his ex-colleague’s motivations for writing the editorial.
Though the presidential election passed without issue in the Sunshine State, Florida is once again at the center of a vote counting controversy.
After election night, Florida Democrat Patrick Murphy emerged with a slim lead over his opponent, congressman and Tea Party star Allen West. Since then, Mr. West’s campaign has been pushing for a recount and in a letter sent to the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker and the county’s Canvassing Board this morning they outlined one of their “serious concerns”–an alleged “malfunction” of the memory cards used to scan ballots in that county.
“If satisfactory answers are not forthcoming, we may need to direct our attorneys to take further legal actions to resolve these serious legal questions about the canvass of the election in St. Lucie County,” wrote Mr. West’s campaign manager Tim Edson.