January 2nd, 2013
11:29 AM ET
10 years ago

King blasts his own party over scrapped vote on Sandy relief measure

Washington (CNN) - Republican Rep. Peter King of New York had blistering criticism Wednesday for his own party's leadership following their decision in the House not to vote on a relief measure for Superstorm Sandy in this congressional session. The GOP House leadership, he said, "has turned its back on those people" who continue to suffer after the late October storm devastated parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

After passing the scaled-back fiscal cliff measure shortly before midnight, the House did not take up the $60 billion measure which passed the Senate in late December, as King said members of the House leadership had promised him.

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"There's some dysfunction in the Republican leadership," he said in an interview on CNN. "For some reason, the speaker is taking it out on New York, Long Island, and New Jersey."

King said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had worked with representatives of the tri-state area and promised the vote would happen before the new Congress is sworn in on Thursday. The new Congress will mean the legislative process must be restarted.

King said he had a sense Republican leaders were avoiding him and a firm decision on the vote early Tuesday evening. King said he was "chasing [Boehner] all over the House," and eventually the speaker left without telling King and other members there would be no vote on the relief measure. Word of the scrapped vote emerged through staff members, and frustrated congressmen took their criticism to the House floor early Wednesday morning after the fiscal cliff deal passed.

One of the boiling points, he said, was when Boehner yelled at a member of the delegation who demanded a meeting to discuss the speaker's intentions.

King said he held Boehner responsible for the decision not to vote.

A senior aide to Republican House leadership said Wednesday that Boehner would make the supplemental appropriation "his first priority in the new Congress." An aide to Boehner said the speaker would meet with the New York and New Jersey delegations Wednesday afternoon.

In his interview, King blasted Republicans for tapping his state's wealth in campaign fundraisers, then turning their back on the state.

"These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they want money," he said on CNN.

In particular, King had sharp criticism for the House Appropriations Committee chairman, Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky.

"First, he doesn't know what he was talking about," King said in response to Rogers' point that FEMA had sufficient funding for at least two more months of relief effort, "and secondly, Hal Rogers has no problem coming to New York to raise money."

"Hal Rogers can play his game, he can suck up to the Republican speaker if he wants to, but he should stay out of New York," King continued. "Stay out of New York, Hal, raise your money down in Kentucky."

He expected the political consequences would include "Republican seats in the Northeast that I think were lost last night" due to the House leadership's move.

"There are a number of Republicans who may be able to kiss their seats goodbye because of what was done to them, not because of what they did, but what was done to them," he said. "Because the issue is if you can't provide the most basic assistance for your district, who needs you in Congress?"

King planned to carefully consider how to vote with future measures, holding his vote "in abeyance." He stopped short of saying he would vote to buck Boehner's speakership and although his frustration was high, he said he would not leave the GOP. "I'm going to do what I have to do," King said, adding he is "independent minded" and felt as though his party had "written me off."

"I would say the Republican Party has said it is the party of family values," he said. "Last night it turned its back on the most essential value of all, and that is to provide food, shelter clothing, and relief for people who have been hit by a natural disaster. And I would say that the Republican Party has turned its back on those people."

The superstorm started as a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea. The storm strengthened to hurricane-level and left 113 people dead in the U.S.

Filed under: New York • Peter King
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. dick

    And Florida pays. FEMA is siow. Where's your governor, State Army Reserves, Mayors, etc.? Oh you don't have any money? Neither do we. Congress spent it all. Yes he's right in one way. They are dysfunctional. It was a Democratic Senate that passed such a pitiful bill. What it did do was raise the SS tax on the middle class. Who's fooling who? You keep knocking the Republicans when the Democrats are just as bad, if not worse depending on the topic.

    January 2, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. PHinMiami

    What did they expect?? Supporting Romney, "FEMA, I'll get rid of that", of course there won't be any help. Every man for themselves, . . . the GOP mantra.

    Yeah, the GOP is ugly. Maybe they've finally found a mirror.

    January 2, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. GOP= Greed Over People (Party)

    Dysfunction? You think? Thats GOP for you

    January 2, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Vijay

    This is sad for our nation that Republican congress doesn't want to spend 60 billion for emergency. It is shame on them. Republicans always says about spending problem. Who had spent most of our tax dollars for two Unpaid wars? I don't know why they (Republicans) don't want to pass any bill's which are necessary to keep our economy moving. They don't want Obama to take any credit at any cost. They want country to sink then only they can win election (that is a bad tactics). If the same thing happened in Republican controlled state, then they will blame Obama for not releasing funds for emergency. They talk about spending problem, actually they are root cause of all the problems which we are facing right now.

    January 2, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Sametestsameresults

    The U.S. congress has only a couple of major functions 1. Declare war, 2. Write annul budget for the country 3. Get emergency funding for natural disasters and out to the people who need it. This Tea Party led GOP congress has failed on # 2 and 3 repeatedly they ignore the people and create havoc for our financial sector by playing partisan politics with EVERY single bill that comes through the house. This is why so many moderate GOP members are getting sick of their own party. For the record 60K per person in an area where the whole subway was flooded and all the electrical systems need to have salt water removed seems like a pretty expensive activity. Once again though people dont realize it costs money to run this country and take care of the people. It is not cheap, and it shouldn't take priority AFTER your party attacks the president 100 times after losing a national presidential year election while losing ground for your own party in both the house and the Senate. Stupid is as stupid does.......its the Tea Party way.

    January 2, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Geno

    Greenspam, it does not work out to 60K per person if you include the cost of public infrastructure damage. This would include roads, bridges, tunnels, public transportation, schools, and governement buildings that were damaged during the storm. Money going to actual private citizens would be very minimal.

    January 2, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. andrew

    Most of the republicans in the US House are incapable of helping anyone but themselves. And the 'family values' thing? Forget that – it's a dishonest fraud, they're not 'family' people anymore than anybody else. I'm sick of hearing that phony, fake, disgusting lie. They should have helped the families hit by the hurricane but didn't; so they're not about family values – period. More and more republicans will get sent packing AGAIN next election. It's about time.

    January 2, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    CNN has become a bit ... tea-touchy, yes?
    Mai oui! Thanks for the heads up. Tea-touchy, t-touchy. Good one Lynda! LOL!
    Getting a really big kick out of Rep King airing his Party's dirty laundry complete with names and addresses, so to speak.
    Go KIng, go!!!!!

    January 2, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. 20sandi12

    It is high treason intentionally committed by the republican party to deny funds to the taxpayers and citizens of our own nation.

    January 2, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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