Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Northeast Gop Assails Boehner over Sandy Aid

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Northeast Gop Assails Boehner over Sandy Aid

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Northeastern Republicans, long outnumbered and overshadowed in their own party nationally, erupted in fury Wednesday after the Republican-controlled House blocked a measure that sought to provide billions of dollars in aid to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other states pummeled by Hurricane Sandy.

The depth of the anger was extraordinary and exceedingly personal, with one Republican after another venting their outrage at one man in particular, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who quietly moved to keep the bill from coming to the floor early Wednesday morning after a raucous marathon session on fiscal issues.

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., whose Staten Island district was among the hardest hit, threatened not to vote for Mr. Boehner in the election for speaker this week. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., whose Long Island constituents also suffered huge losses in the storm, urged New York's well-heeled donor community not to contribute to Mr. Boehner's Republican majority.

The anger that surfaced Wednesday seemed to come as a bit of a shock to Mr. Boehner, who quickly sought to contain any political fallout. After meeting with GOP lawmakers from the storm-battered region, he pledged to bring a $9 billion relief package to the floor Friday and a $51 billion package on Jan. 15.

"Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress," Mr. Boehner said in a statement he released with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. "That was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations."

But it was unclear whether Mr. Boehner could undo the damage he had done.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a potential Republican presidential contender in 2016, said Mr. Boehner had refused to take his calls Tuesday night. Mr. Christie accused the House leadership of duplicity and selfishness, saying the inaction "is why the American people hate Congress." After finally getting through to Mr. Boehner on Wednesday morning, Mr. Christie expressed doubt in the speaker's word in his characteristically blunt way.

"I'm not going to get into the specifics of what I discussed with John Boehner today," he told reporters in New Jersey. "But what I will tell you is there is no reason at the moment for me to believe anything they tell me. Because they have been telling me stuff for weeks, and they didn't deliver."

Mr. King later struck a more conciliatory note. "This procedure that is laid out is fully acceptable," he said, reacting to the schedule Mr. Boehner presented. "Fact is, we are getting what New York and New Jersey needs, and that is what counts."

Mr. Grimm seemed mollified as well, saying he would support the speaker after all.

As much as the outcry spoke of the extraordinary dissension within Republican ranks, it also underscored another political reality: the relative lack of clout that Northeastern states such as New York have in the House, a chamber dominated by Southern and Midwest conservatives. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.