January 2nd, 2013
11:29 AM ET
8 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.

"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. Tricia

    All of that money is not going to Sandy victims. There are millions of dollars in that bill that go to Alaskan fisheries, electric cars, etc. It is full of pork barrel projects. I just wish one republican would stand up to this administration and tell it like it is as to what is really in that bill that the hurricane victims will be lucky to see half of the amount when Obama and the dems finally pass this piece of porkulous.

    January 2, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Typical Politicians

    Can't you see the primary concerns are party fortification and protection of the herd's power-
    the concerns of the little guy are somewhere down the list of priorities. No politician lives in a cardboard box;
    they'll never get it.

    January 2, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Timothy M

    Clearly Peter King isn't doing his job if he wasn't able to get the house leadership to bring this up for a vote prior to the end of the session (come on, King, it's your own party). As someone who lives in Peter King's district on Long Island, I'm hopeful that there's a silver lining in this–King will not get re-elected. He's done a lot of questionable things, including his essentially racist anti-Muslim hearings. He's been too focused on his own agenda to get the house to even vote on something that New York and Long Island desperately need. Time for Peter King to step down.

    January 2, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Jamie

    Suddenly the republicans are worried about people going without, food, shealter, out in the freezing cold they say. Well, where were they for the reast of us when we were out in the cold, when we needed food, shealter, healthcare, oh that's right is not their problem to worry about the 47%. Guess what goes around....

    January 2, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. kim turner

    of course CNN doesnt talk about why the bill was passed on. It has wasteful, unrelated spending in it like for a museuem in DC, Alaskan fisheries and NASA in FL? Why would this bill pass. Its full of unrelated spending. Its the GOP's job to block this. Democrats get done voting on the fiscal cliff and then want to waste more $ on their projects we cant afford then blame republican

    January 2, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. VJ

    What is wrong with the republicans don't they know what happened to the people of New Jersey and New York. Or do the care?

    January 2, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Rudy NYC "You are totally clueless. You speak whatever sounds good to you. Did you know that NYPD evidence storage facilites were destroyed? That means that hundreds of cases are in jeopardy of being thrown out for lack of evidence, convictions overturned because of a lack of evidence, that the NYPD is short-handed on people and facilities fighting the clock to salvage what evidence they can" So they need money to buy new evidence or what? Newsflash, the NE has always been at risk for hurricanes, they choose not to fix things until it happened. Not my problem.

    January 2, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Bob

    Rep. King, go to some of your pals in your district that pay the "Carried Interest" tax rate...they might have some sofa change to throw in your tin cup.

    January 2, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. rick

    don't know at what point these republican leaders lost sight of what the government is there to do. pretty simple really, protection and well being of the people. not the protection of corporations or special interests or profits. the people who elected them.

    January 2, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. mdm123

    Regarding the comments that (1) NJ/NY residents are extremely wealthy and can afford to rebuild and (2) that they should rely on insurance to fund the rebuilding efforts... the facts are that many of the homes that were destroyed were owned by blue-collar, middle class folks. I have been volunteering down along the Jersey coast for many weeks now and have helped dozens of people, many of whom are on the verge of bankruptcy. I see this first-hand every week. Secondly, many of these areas had never flooded at all in the previous 100 years so they were NOT located in flood plains, thus not requiring flood insurance. Would YOU pay for insurance you never would seemingly need, especially when you're struggling to get by on a modest paycheck?

    It is a bit annoying to hear how our area does not need assistance when the facts are that tax dollars flow AWAY from NJ/NY and TO other states that do not have the same economic situation that we have had historically. I never ever heard one person in our area complain that FEMA funds etc were sent to states like Louisiana or Florida when they were in need.

    January 2, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Greenspam

    $60B is a lot of money. Why do we need $60B.. food, shelter, clothing.. relief? Give me a break. Let's say 1M people are affected, $60B is like $60,000 per person, for food, shelter and clothing? Give me a break.

    January 2, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. JeramieH

    I thought Republicans wanted smaller federal government and expect the states to cover such things?

    January 2, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Peace

    Where is the outspoken Chris Christie to fight for his people? He always fights for nothing and why not now when he is needed most? Politics, politics, politics.

    January 2, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. BlackDynamite

    Proud to be GOP!

    January 2, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Greenspam

    Why are Republicans suddenly talking about spending $60B.. that's crazy! You know, they were kicking and screaming at the idea of raising tax rate to get additional $60B/year from people make over $400K and suddenly they just give away $60B with no accountability for relief?

    January 2, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/Minnesota:
    Happy New Year my friend!
    I'm still trying to find "postable" words to address myviewis' comment below:
    "I think New York, Long Island and New Jersey will be just fine, these areas are extremely wealthy, residents there make great salaries,"
    Rudy did a good job and came awfully close to expressing my sentiments....but not quite! LOL!
    CNN is on full moderation mode today....unfortunately!

    January 2, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Guest

    It is an awful bill. It contains huge amounts of spending to totally non related things.

    January 2, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Mike Johnson

    It's so fitting the only two comments relishing in the misery of the Americans affected by this storm were conservatives. This is who conservatives are.

    January 2, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. mike electrician

    Rep King, remember your party is the one that thinks all government spending is BAD!!!!...

    January 2, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Dan I

    This is your party Rep. King. Holding disaster relief money hostage, willing to sacrifice the country to get their way. These people aren't interested in government at all, they've dedicded "negotiation" means "Give me what I want or I will do my best to wreck the country."

    January 2, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "They believed that if they believed in a cause they should be willing to die for it, but Cole said that they should be willing to put their principals aside and follow the crowd."

    Hammerer, dear .... you expected way too much from your Republican Party of misfits. I suspect it's the tea. Awfully bitter ... is tea ... without sugar.

    January 2, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. MattinDC

    Nows your chace to switch parties Mr. King. We'll be glad to have you. If you don't these words about your party are meaningless.
    Go SKINS! beat seattle!

    January 2, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Michael Smith

    The Republican House 'leadership' should have told Congressman King that his bill would not come to a vote and why. They have no problem showing up on TV and radio programs that closely espouse their ideology, but leave it to underlings to deliver the news to Congressman King. That is a very serious problem with Congress. Too much of the power is wielded by non-elected staff. Can we flush all 535 members of Congress and have complete new elections NOW?

    January 2, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Guest

    the bill contains 200 million in pork. This is why I hate Washington. Everyone of them needs to go home

    January 2, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Ray E. (Georgia)

    The dust needs to settle a bit after the Fiscal Cliff Fiasco. Most likely the House will take up the bill, not like the Senate that can't even get out of it's own way most of the time. And of course the National Debt will go up another 60 or so Billion. I don't live there but I suspect a huge number of those people live in housing substusized by the government and have no insurance, or much of anything else. It is a huge mess and will take years to repair all the damage. Maybe on the Tax payer's dime.

    January 2, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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