(CNN) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told Congress to put their bickering on the fiscal cliff aside to handle a more pressing issue: emergency aid for the communities hit by superstorm Sandy.
"I'm counting on the fact that our congressional delegation and the leaders of Congress, while I know they are consumed with fighting and bickering with each other about the fiscal cliff and all these other things, don't forget that people are suffering," he said.
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President Barack Obama sent Congress a proposal for $60.4 billion in storm aid for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, slightly less than the approximately $80 billion the governors requested.
Christie called on Congress to pass the aid before the new year so that the rebuilding efforts may begin.
"People want to rebuild their homes. They want to rebuild their businesses. They want to rebuild their schools. They want to rebuild their state," he said. "[Congress] can return to bickering as soon as they get done with the business that is the first responsibility of government, which is protecting the lives and property of its citizens."
He spoke Thursday at his first town hall-style meeting since the superstorm hit in late October. Christie has regularly held and taken residents' questions at such community meetings and said the Belmar, New Jersey meeting was his first in almost a dozen weeks.
A series of recent polls have shown high marks for the governor's handling of the storm and recovery efforts. When handed the microphone, some residents offered praise for Christie. Others described in detail the hurdles they were facing in their efforts to rebuild their businesses or homes.
Christie was also asked about school safety by a student, and said that the state should consider a variety of policy changes to make in the wake of last week's school shooting in Connecticut. Gun legislation and mental health should be on the table, he said.
He urged the student to focus on learning and let adults focus on school security.
"I think that most parents in New Jersey and most kids that go to school in New Jersey should feel relatively safe and secure when you go to school everyday," he said. "The one thing that we can not completely stop is when bad people want to do bad things. We're not going to have an armed guard outside of every classroom and I don't think we should."
And he expressed no interest in a presidential bid in 2016, laughing off how he was unable to shake off questions of whether he would seek higher office in the future.
"I have so much to do" as governor. "I hope I'm putting one foot in front of the other in 2016 in a state that we've rebuilt and with people who feel like we've recovered from what we've done."
Let me be clear, Gov. Christie you are holding Mrs. Obama's purse so you have nothing to discuss.
GOP plan-B is a plain BS.
somehow congress does not believe they work for us, they are there just for power . somebody please remind these idiots that they are getting free money because they are not working. and they have the nerve to talk about people on welfare.
I agree with Christie.
There is enough hot air coming out of Washington D.C. already.
Politicians – be quiet, and do your jobs.
The Republicans stop the bickering ???? Are you kidding me ???? Don't think they care if anybody is suffering in this country. They are trying to make more people suffer than the ones in New Jersey Mr. Christie. LOL...You silly man, can't you see their only trying to HELP the wealthist get some HELP ? Mr. Christie, Tell the people of New Jersey to start eating cat food and re-build their homes out of cardboard and whateverthey can scrounge up. SORRY BUDDY ! You are officially OUT of LUCK !
How many assault rifles does she own!!!
Well said Gov. There are people behind these numbers and most of them support the president. Why are they bickering when the people have spoken?
Christi is the only gop politician who relates to voters and is half normal ,the rest of them can jump off the cliff and get kicked out of office in 2014 and take their pledges to norquest the crook lobbyist with them ,morons
The Fiscal Cliff brings in tons of money to the government – all Obama has to do is give back some to the 98% in one form or another and the GOP is DEAD IN THE WATER
GOP going over the cliff and right into a guns dispute which they will also loose!
THE DEMOCRATS have a well thought out plan i.e. put the middle class FIRST and the GOP LAST
can't believe the republicans can't see it comming – not too swift!
Christi should dump the gop like Crist did in Florida and even dems would vote for him,the gop is going nowhere and their poll numbers are droping faster then the gas prices at the pump !!!!
Very smart, governor! As a hard line Democrat, Gov. Christie is definitely likable. He speaks direct. He works well with others(Democrats). He is intelligent. These are qualities all politicians can learn from. Im left wondering, are we sure Christie is republican? He seems too smart to be.
People voted in a bunch of "do nothings" That MUST be what they expect out of them. Unless they're foolish... Oh wait...
You'll have to wait, Governor, The Republicans are far more focused on making sure Obama is a two-term President!
A common sense approach. Bet he gets raked over the coals for making this remark. Idiots don't like sensible people. Makes them look bad. His party seems to be running over with idiots these days.
It is payback for the percepted betrayal of praising the POTUS.
Chris Christie needs to talk to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. They are leading the bickering!
Better stop all that "people are suffering" talk, Chris. You'll be labelled a RINO...
Governor Christie, wow, you want Washington out of the states business. You want Washington to let the people be free to become the best they can without any government telling them what to do . Suddenly, when you actually need the money only Washington can supply, you hope they will do the right thing. Like the old saying, no one is an atheist in a fox hole, No one is a republican when they need federal money. And, you wonder why there is a fiscal cliff (oh yeah the republicans created it) and if we will go over the cliff, (oh yeah, pushed by the republicans). You can't make this stuff up. Truth is far stranger than fiction. What a bunch of clowns, with Christie as the poster boy for a classic two faces Republican clown. Wow!