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. Greenspam

    I am a Democrat and I think this $60B relief bill is bogus. Let's say 1M people are affected, $60B is $60K per person. Does a person really need $60K of food, clothes, and shelter? Also, people have home insurance, so their homes will be rebuilt by insurance and get money from insurance for relief. This is a BS bill.

    January 2, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. lance corporal

    republican; NO, absolutely NO spending............ wait, wait but this thing happened in MY district!

    hmmmmmm maybe a more reasonable, balanced POV from the start? NO???

    January 2, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. kylefromohio

    Will the Real Republican Please, take their party back. It is important to have the 2 party system that is talking and compromising about the american experiment. Please step up Real Republican's and takle your Party back.

    January 2, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. lolrepublicans

    "There's some dysfunction in the Republican leadership,"

    You don't say!

    January 2, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Greg Morgan

    Why is Rep. King so shocked to see the Republican House leadership acting like Republicans?

    January 2, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. don Jones

    Yeah republicans are aginst government aid unless they are the beficiaries

    January 2, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Guest

    You can't get the truth anymore of the media. This bill contains 200 million in pork, unrelated to Sandy.

    January 2, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Guest

    Read the bill, folks. It will make you so angry.

    January 2, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. semper fi

    Got the photo op with Christie....won the election.....Sandy who?

    January 2, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Mike from Seattle

    Looks like King is ready to Crown Boehner.

    January 2, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    mdm123 wrote:

    ...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.
    No, the right wing most certainly does not complain about FEMA funds used for hurricane relief across the gulf coast. Most of the FEMA funds are need for infrastructure damage, anyway. The flooded out subway stations and tunnels finally re-opened just last week, which does not mean that they have been repaired. Areas still suffere without water, gas or electricity. Utility crews that came from as far away as California to help with emergency repairs need to be repaid so that they are not forced to raise rates on their own customers. The cost of Sandy extends far outside of the NYC tri-state area.

    January 2, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Mark

    My God! These Republicans had no problem approving anything and everything GW Bush wanted, including two unfunded wars, an unfunded Medicare Plan-D drug program and tax-cuts for the very wealthy which were added to the deficit – AND they led us all into the largest recession since the great depression! NOW they just sound hipocritical and pathetic as they act like nannies over the nation's spending.

    January 2, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. insight iowa

    I think they all should stay in Washington and keep working for once. I suppose we will be waiting another year before anything gets done and then again, it's just a band aide... Congress stay in Washington and do your jobs and if you don't what that is... look it up!!

    January 2, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Matt

    How about the nearly $200+ million that has been raised from everyone around the world??! Funny how that isn't being taken into consideration for your request for yet more money! Oh, and I cover the state of NY in the Public Sector.. Guess what?! You waste so much money because of all of your rules/contracts no wonder why you didn't get your way. How about you go back and figure out a way to use up some of that money that hardworking people from around the world DONATED before complaining about not getting your way!

    January 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Charles

    Republican Rep. Peter King of New York
    I hope this experience gives you the understanding as to how selfish and self-centered many of the people in your Republican party are. They threaten us with shut down of our Government so the rich don't lose a dime while letting the people of New Jersey and New York rot and freeze. Keep it up Peter and we will send you a couple of these unreconstructed Southern Republican Boys from Virginia who are managing this process.

    January 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. JD


    I couldn't agree more. Rep king should show requests going unfunded, therefore not being done.

    Are there requests for more electricians, more concrete workers, more etc, etc that are not going to be done because of this?????? If so. Lets itemize it and get on it. People need help. We all agree.

    I'm tired of the emotional arguments in DC trumping having honest conversation. And I'm tired of "that's not how DC works". Change it

    January 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Pam from Iowa

    the party of family values???
    HA! HA!! HA!!!

    to semper fi: I dont recall Boehner in a photo op with Christie......must a missed that one (probably because I cant stand the man)

    January 2, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Guest wrote:

    You can't get the truth anymore of the media. This bill contains 200 million in pork, unrelated to Sandy.

    Read the bill, folks. It will make you so angry.
    Read the Constitution. All spending measures must originate in the House, and the House had the obligation to amend whatever bill the Senate sends to it. The House could have easily removed what it felt was unnecessary, and sent it back to the Senate.

    Condemning the entire bill to the circular file because they didn't like 0.16% of it is deriliction of duty. They could have easily taken that out....long time ago.

    January 2, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. mdm123

    Greenspam: you are wrong about the insurance angle. Typical homeowners insurance does NOT pay for flood damages; all policies of this type contain a clause saying that it does not cover damage from "rising waters" (ie a flood). Many people in NJ/NY do not have flood insurance because they live in areas that were NOT on flood plain maps that showed all instances of 100-year floods prior to Sandy. The flood plain maps were just redrawn in late Decmber, 2012 to reflect the newly-flooded areas. Therefore, they will receive almost no assistance from their insurance companies. I volunteer with the relief effort at the Jersey shore each week and I have spoken to dozens of people who face these circumstances.

    January 2, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/Minnesota:
    Happy New Year my friend!
    I'm still trying to find "postable" words to address myviewis' comment below:

    Happy New Year to you as well and welcome back! Good luck getting past the moderators. It's become a ... well ... a creative endeavor for all of us these past few weeks. CNN has become a bit ... tea-touchy, yes?

    January 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. sonny chapman

    Political Ideology/Theology meets Reality. I love it when these sacrosanct Repubs. lose their Faith.

    January 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Hmm, Katrina, Sandy.. why should so much of my hard earned cash go to pay to rebuild homes built on barrier islands and low-lying areas? Let the ocean have these areas back, and let's focus on the real issue: runaway consumerism and the overuse of fossil fuels that is causing climate change. Put the money in to alternative energy and efficient housing, then perhaps you'll get my support. Ask me to pay to rebuild someone's beach house? I don't think so..

    January 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. I will wait

    Rep King.. can we have a little background music while reading about your past stance on hurricane relief?

    The congressman, who is running for his sixth term, was outspoken about — among other things — the need to pay for any spending on disaster relief, an issue he has dealt with before. In 2005, he voted against a bill to help Hurricane Katrina victims because he said it cost too much at $51.8 billion. King was one of only 11 members of Congress to oppose the bill. King said last week that his vote against Hurricane Katrina relief was “a good vote” and “a principled vote.”

    January 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. Wondering

    i am wondering, is the honorable Mr King impling that speaker Boehner sneaked out of the congress building and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lied to the tri-state members. I am wondering why Mr king is not recognozing this as cost cutting measure?. Call a spade a spade sir!. You see we can only separate lives from financial decisions for so long untill they affect our particular community. Reminds me of when Rick Perry did not need federal assistance untill a fire was in his backyard. I am wondering when our being one nation under one God, will not apply to only public holidays and tragic moments.

    January 2, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Vincent

    According to the extremist and hardline republicans, Federal aid to fellow citizens is never allowed. Unless its needed in their own backyard.
    The nation, and the global economy, is still fragile. Doesnt anyone think it might be imporant to get one of the biggest economic centers back on track and contributing?

    January 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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