Republicans in the House of Representatives broke their promise and pulled the plug on an emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for the Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Politico.com reported on Tuesday, Jan 1.
The decision was shocking as just hours before the House Republicans decision New Jersey lawmakers were preparing for floor debate on Wednesday, Jan 2 as outlined under a strategy promoted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
The Appropriations Committee filed a $27 billion bill Tuesday with an amendment to be offered by Rep Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) seeking an additional $33 billion to match the Senate passed package of last week. The assumption is that now the Senate bill will die on Thursday, Jan. 3 at 12:00 p.m.
The $27 billion measure, which was to be managed by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) closely mirrored a Republican alternative tested in the Senate last week by Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.).
Rep Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) told politico.com:
“I am stunned, stunned. I assume there is as tactical consideration here, that the Republican leadership didn’t want to be anywhere near a big spending bill after the fiasco of their handling of the tax debate. I understand the tactics but there is a real human need here that is being ignored.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said:
“I can’t remember a time when we had a very serious storm, tornado, fire, flood where we did not act. This Congress is apparently leaving town without responding to this emergency. There’s not one of us, not one of us in this Congress that could not be in the same position. There are Republicans who are deeply grieved by this action and there are Democrats on this Floor who are deeply grieved by this action. This is not the right thing to do. I would hope it would be reconsidered.”
Sen. Dan Coats drew strong support from fellow Republicans to add additional funding to the national flood insurance program. The national flood insurance program will immediately be affected if the House fails to act.