Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who previously declined to slam House Speaker John Boehner over Congress’ stalled Hurricane Sandy aid, took his argument to the next level this morning and suggested federal lawmakers are partially to blame for the delay in the vote on the package because they insert “things that are totally extraneous” into bills such as this. Although Mr. Bloomberg didn’t specify the extraneous problem items, the legislation has been criticized by Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan for being “packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C.”
“There’s this ‘Christmas Tree effect’ where legislators put in their favorite bills and tack them onto something. The [Obama] administration does that, that’s why you have an omnibus bill–to force everybody to vote for things that would never stand up in the light of day if they were individual,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “I’m sympathetic. Yelling and screaming at [Mr. Boehner] is just not my style. It may be effective, it may not be. Everybody’s got to make their own decisions. I think the legislative leaders who criticize and those in the Legislature should stop and think, they do exactly the same thing in terms of ladling on things that are totally extraneous but it’s the only way they get them through.”
Governor Chris Christie is angry.
In addition to a statement blasted out earlier today, New Jersey’s outspoken governor held a press conference this afternoon where he said Speaker John Boehner’s sudden decision to halt a vote on the Hurricane Sandy relief package exemplifies “why the American people hate Congress.”
“Thirty-one days for Andrew victims. Seventeen days for victims of Gustav and Ike. Ten days for victims of Katrina,” Mr. Christie said, ticking off how long it took for Congress to pass relief after other natural disasters. “For the victims of Sandy in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, there’s been sixty-six days and the wait continues. There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House Majority and their speaker, John Boehner….Last night, politics was placed before our oath to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
Unsurprisingly, the governors of the two states most ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, New Yorker’s Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey’s Chris Christie, are not pleased with the Republican leadership in House of Representatives after they decided to not take up relief legislation last night. To emphasize their displeasure, the two released a joint statement criticizing the chamber for the move.
“With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable,” they said.
In the wake of the House of Representatives’ failed vote on Hurricane Sandy relief, Congressman Pete King has gone rogue.
“These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars,” Mr. King said on Fox News this morning. “They’re in New York all the time filling their pockets with money from New Yorkers. I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds. Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”
New York State started off as a key battleground in the Democrats’ battle to retake control of the U.S. House, especially after the courts intervened in the redistricting plan and shook up a lot of traditional boundaries. However, most of these races were focused in areas further Upstate and the suburbs, leaving the heavily Democratic New York City with just two congressional elections of note.
In Queens, Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng faced off against GOP Councilman Dan Halloran for a seat crafted from the district remnants of outgoing Congressmen Bob Turner and Gary Ackerman. Despite Mr. Halloran’s polling showing the race a tie, those numbers did not pan out and Ms. Meng is currently ahead by roughly 2-to-1, which matches how Democrats have historically performed within the area.
House Speaker John Boehner sounded downright pessimistic on his party’s odds in New York during a Fox News interview earlier today, The Hill reports.
“I believe that we will, but we’ve got a real challenge,” Mr. Boehner said when asked about Republican chances of holding onto their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I would say that there is a 2-in-3 chance that we win control of the House again but there’s a 1-in-3 chance that we could lose.”