On Wednesday night when the House of Representatives passed the ‘fiscal cliff’ deal, they failed to vote on billions of dollars in aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. Superstorm Sandy killed at least 113 people in the United States and left millions of people without power after running up the East Coast in late October. The storm hit hardest in New York and New Jersey.
Up until Tuesday night, GOP leaders were working toward a plan of splitting up the vote into two measures — one providing $27 billion for immediate needs, and another amendment offering $33 billion for longer-term recovery efforts.
Long Island Republican Representative Peter King said, “…the federal government, the U.S. Congress turned its back on these innocent people and it is one of the worst decisions that has ever been made in the Congress. Indefensible.” King’s district was one of the hardest-hit by the storm.
CNN reported that it is estimated that New York and New Jersey need almost $80 million to cover storm costs. That includes help for home and business owners and repairs to hospitals, transit systems and utilities, including public improvement projects on the electric grid.
As pert CNN, House leaders justified leaving the bill on the floor by saying that there is no crisis. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said “FEMA has enough money to last until at least late February-March anyway.”
Since the House did not act and a new Congress will be sworn in, the entire process has to start over. The term of the current Congress ends tomorrow. Some public officials have called for a vote on the Hurricane Sandy funding prior to the end of the term.