Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reacting to criticism over his decision to adjourn the House without passing a $60 billion Superstorm Sandy aid bill, has agreed to take action on an aid package after all, lawmakers say.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., leaving a meeting in Boehner’s office on Wednesday afternoon, told reporters the Speaker has agreed to hold a vote on about $9 billion in flood aid and will set that for Friday.
King said that Boehner also promised that when lawmakers return on Jan. 15, the House would take up a remaining $51 billion part of the package, which addresses a range of needs from housing to public transportation.
Since late Tuesday night, lawmakers, governors and other officials in both parties from Sandy-impacted states have been criticizing Boehner for refusing to bring a $60 billion bill passed by the Senate to a vote on New Year’s Day. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state region alone were destroyed by the storm.
“I don’t know the reason,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Wednesday, as to why Boehner declined to vote on the bill. “Whatever it was – it was not justified.”
Boehner issued a joint statement with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Wednesday afternoon regarding the funding request.
"Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress, and that was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations. The House will vote Friday to direct needed resources to the National Flood Insurance Program. And on January 15th, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress, the House will consider the remaining supplemental request for the victims of Hurricane Sandy."