Guess who’s decided to work after being yelled at? On Friday, the House of Representatives approved $9.7 billion in new aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The vote comes on the heels of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) being met with a wave of scathing criticism from tri-state Republicans, with the loudest critique coming from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
As legend has it, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) called Christie at 11:20 p.m. ET, after a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff was reached to let him know that there would be no additional vote on the supplemental funds. After that call, Christie claims he phoned Boehner four times, with Boehner allegedly refusing to return his calls. Christie went on to say that he was never given an explanation as to why the vote was canceled.
As someone who’s long shown he hates being ignored, Christie said, “Shame on Congress” for placing “politics ahead of their responsibilities.” “Our people were played last night as a pawn,” Christie added. “Last night, my party was responsible for this.”
He went on to note: ”There is only one group to blame. The House majority and their Speaker, John Boehner.”
In response, Boehner and Cantor released a joint statement assuring that a vote to direct resources to the National Flood Insurance Program would take place on Friday and that another would happen on January 15th, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress, to “consider the remaining supplemental request for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.”
Christie got a lot of praise for Boehner-bashing because he played in to the spitfire, tell-it-like-it-is-no-matter-your-political-persuasion persona he’s crafted and miraculously maintained since Sandy hit the shores of New Jersey.
Whether or not that championing is well-deserved is an argument that will likely continue to fall by the wayside as concern is more focused on getting a national Republican to join in on the condemnation of the do-nothing Congress consisting largely of GOP obstructionists. But for the record, if there was anyone who pushed Boehner to schedule today’s vote it’s Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who not only slammed his fellow Republicans in the House’s claims that FEMA money has been enough so far to settle concerns of Sandy victims, but told New Yorkers to not give any money to House Republicans until they provide real aid to them.
To be somewhat fair to Boehner, he has reason to worry about the way the second spending measure will go once it hits the House floor. Today’s measure was approved on a 354 to 67 vote.
Naturally, all of the dissenters were members of his own GOP caucus.
Meanwhile, the adults of Congress, the U.S. Senate, are expected to adopt the measure later today on a unanimous voice vote.
As frustrating as it is thus far to see hurricane victims wait this long for help, no one should be surprised by the behavior of House Republicans, especially other Republicans.
In the past, Christie has dismissed Republican holdouts on Sandy aid as “stupid and selfish,” but they’re operating essentially under the same flawed premise that Christie employed when mocking Obamacare.
William Saletan wrote in the Slate piece “Sandy Socialists” about Christie’s brutish hurricane evacuation order:
If you defy government instructions and don’t take basic precautions, you aren’t just risking your life. You’re making the rest of us bail you out. That’s not fair.
What’s odd about Christie and other Republican governors is that they recognize this principle only when a hurricane hits. When it comes to injury or disease, which we know will strike everyone on this planet, the Republican governors defend your right to ride it out. They oppose any requirement to buy health insurance. If you get sick, the rest of us will shell out to rescue you.
Chris Christie isn’t the only hypocritical Republican who suddenly became angry and emboldened to speak on flawed conservative ideology when tragedy took place within their jurisdictions, but he’s presently the one howling that hypocrisy the most.
I agree wholeheartedly with Gov. Christie that it’s pitiful to see people suffer longer than they should because of selfish politicians. Then again, Christie has shared that same point of view when it suited his own interests.
If Christie truly wants those in power to stop being “stupid and selfish” in terms of policy, let’s see what he does once he goes after the next Republican presidential nomination.