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Condemnation was swift last week for the House Republicans’ heartless abandonment of people devastated by Hurricane Sandy. No one put it better than Representative Peter King of Long Island. He said anybody from New York or New Jersey who donates money to help his fellow Republicans get re-elected is crazy.
We hope Wall Street heard King clearly the first time and ignores his subsequent backpedal, which presumably was done for political survival.
The “Boehner Betrayal,” as Senator Chuck Schumer called House Speaker John Boehner’s broken promise to bring a $60 billion hurricane relief package to the floor, will likely have real and devastating consequences in Downtown Manhattan and other areas that were hit even harder by Sandy.
Many businesses close to home have still not reopened and are desperately waiting for relief to rebuild their livelihoods. Others are looking with horror at their repair bills and their loss of customers. Some Downtowners have not been able to return home, and in other parts of the city and state and elsewhere, there are many people who can’t even recognize where they lived or worked because the storm just washed it all away.
Boehner’s decision to take up the bill in piecemeal, passing a much smaller $9.7 billion package at the end of last week, will leave many waiting for help.
Left out of the bill is some of the money needed to help homeowners and small-business owners rebuild, to repair critical transportation equipment and to replenish shorelines.
Boehner may have clinched his leadership re-election by waiting for the new session of Congress, but the decision means the Senate — a body that the Founding Fathers designed to act slowly — must pass another large ticket bill all over again. This during a time when divisive debates are on tap in the Senate over possible new filibuster rules and the battle to confirm Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary.
It was an outrage that Boehner waited more than two months to consider Sandy relief so he could focus his attention on bad-faith, pointless negotiations with the White House on the “fiscal cliff.”
He strung the president along before deferring to the Senate to make a last minute deal.
Our man in Congress, Jerrold Nadler, said extending the hardship was “a total collapse of leadership” on Boehner’s part. He may have been too kind to use the “L” word in the same sentence with the speaker.