That’s not just our view. Ask Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Representative Peter King of New York, both dedicated Republican soldiers. Mr. Christie said there was “only one group to blame” for the money being delayed six times longer than relief for Hurricane Katrina: the Republican majority and Mr. Boehner personally.
In a joint statement, Mr. Christie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said: “When American citizens are in need, we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.” Mr. Christie called the delay in aid “disappointing and disgusting.”
Mr. Boehner had promised to allow the House to vote this week on a $60.4 billion aid package that easily passed the Senate. But he reneged while trying to get out of the way of a final agreement on the fiscal cliff. Now the relief effort will have to begin again with the incoming Congress, and that means more time wasted and possibly less help for those who need it.
Whether Mr. Boehner can revive the Senate package in a few weeks, as now promised, is uncertain, because it’s not clear whether he actually leads the right-dominated Republican caucus anymore. House Republicans are now looking at a patchwork response, starting with a $9 billion down payment mostly for flood insurance. The rest, if it comes at all, would come in other measures.
It has been more than 66 days since Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York and New Jersey killing more than 130 people and causing an estimated $82 billion in damage. Within 10 days after Hurricane Katrina flooded the Gulf Coast in 2005, Washington agreed on more than $60 billion in aid with more to come.
Residents and political leaders in the areas hit hardest by Sandy are understandably outraged about the delay. Mr. King was right both in substance and tenor on Wednesday when he said: “These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars.” Mr. King said Northeasterners should stop donating money to Republican lawmakers, who he said had “put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.”
The $60.4 billion falls short of the original request by Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Christie, but it would at least make a good start. The Senate bill included money to reimburse local governments for overtime. There was $17 billion to help finance the rebuilding of homes and businesses that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not cover. There was $11 billion for rebuilding and hardening the transportation system in the region, and more than $5 billion for flood control and shore strengthening projects.
The aid was overdue before Mr. Boehner tossed the Senate package aside on Tuesday.