Christie: House's Sandy Punt a "Dereliction of Duty"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 2 2013 1:01 PM

Christie: House's Sandy Punt a "Dereliction of Duty"

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Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a joint press conference on November 4, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Add Chris Christie to the list of Republicans who are blasting House GOP leaders for adjourning last night without calling a vote on an emergency supplemental disaster aid package for those areas hit the hardest by Superstorm Sandy.

Here's the the joint statement the New Jersey governor released today with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat:

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. It has now been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit and 27 days since President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bipartisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor. This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented. The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.
The people of our states can no long afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games.
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Given Christie's very public embrace of President Obama in the wake of the hurricane, his current GOP criticism isn't exactly a surprise. At the same time, it was that state-above-party embrace (and the soaring approval rating that followed) that now gives Christie one of the biggest stages to unload on House Republicans.

The Senate approved its own $60-billion Sandy aide package on Friday. The House was expected to hold a vote on its version of the bill (which is a little less than half the size of the upper chamber's) last night but GOP leaders never brought it up for a vote. If the House doesn't pass an aid package before the next Congress is seated tomorrow, lawmakers would have to start largely from scratch on the bill, something that would likely mean a lengthy delay before New York, New Jersey and other areas see the federal aid they want. [Weigel has more on why some in the GOP are opposed to the deal here.]

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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