NJ Gov. Christie slams GOP leadership

Victims of Superstorm Sandy have waited more than 60 days for federal help. They're still waiting after the House fails to pass an aid bill.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 2, 2013 4:47PM
Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Caption: New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieNew Jersey's outspoken governor, Chris Christie, is furious over the failure of the House of Representatives to pass a $60 billion aid bill Tuesday to assist residents of the Northeast whose lives were upended by Superstorm Sandy.

Christie, one of the rising stars in the Republican party, was particularly irate with the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives, including Speaker John Boehner, who had assured him and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that a bill would pass.

Victims of Sandy have been waiting more than 60 days for relief from the federal government, far longer than those affected by Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. The House's inaction was "disturbing and disgusting to watch," Christie said.

In a caustic and freewheeling press conference Wednesday streamed live online, Christie argued that some members of the House are "so consumed by their own internal politics that they have forgotten that they have a job to do." In New Jersey alone, 364,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy along with hundreds of thousands of businesses. Some people in the region were without power for weeks. Officials in New Jersey are especially worried that delays in aid could harm the state's multibillion-dollar tourism industry.

Christie said Boehner ducked four phone calls from him Tuesday night. The two spoke today but Christie refused to divulge the contents of their conversation, telling reporters, "I would like to have conversations with the Speaker in the future." He did add that "nobody has given me a credible reason" why the Sandy vote didn't occur.
 
Congress treated the victims of Sandy "like pawns in a chess board," according to Christie. "That's why people hate Washington."

President Obama, the U.S. Senate and most members of the House backed the Sandy bill.  Until recently, disaster relief was seen as a bipartisan issue, a change that angers Christie and many other politicians in the region.
 
"It could not overcome the toxic internal politics of the House majority," Christie said. "Governor Cuomo and I are frustrated. . . I was being assured all weekend that this was being done."

Christie's views were echoed by politicians from both parties.

"This isn't about us as members of Congress," said Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican who represents parts of the Jersey Shore, in a speech on the House floor. "It's about our constituents. . . This is a disaster on top of a disaster."

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called the House's inaction "shameful."

"When our neighbors in other states are knocked down by emergency events, we put partisan politics aside and extend a helping hand to help them get back up," he said in a statement.

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr
 
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24Comments
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Well, yes this isn't a good situation.....I think they were more interested to pack in other things non related to Sandy and that is where the interests lies......all of those people in DC need to go.  There isn't one of them worth a tinkers damn. 

Jan 3, 2013 5:33PM
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Christie is doing a good job positioning himself to be the next president...
Jan 3, 2013 2:31PM
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I hope no one agrees to a bill with any funds other than what is directly targeted to storm vivtims in need. Christie and Schumer both acted disgracefuly, especially Schumer since he helped pack the pork ini the bill. As usual, the lame stream media left out the details of pork and the timeline for getting aid to those in need. NJ and NY reesidents should be proud that Boehner, I am no supporter of his, demanded scaling out the non Sandy provisions in the bill. Check out Gillebrands role in this aham.
Jan 3, 2013 2:28PM
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Chart58........No president including this president can make a decision that effects congress in regards to the purse. This president like many on the RIGHT were reassured that this bill would pass the house as it did in the Senate days before. Only an idiot, see the house leader, would pull the bill before the house could vote up or down. As far as presidential imput, this matter doesn't need any. It's DISASTER RELIEF, who plays politics with a bill of that nature? see the house leader. Why would you sink a disaster relief addition into the fiscal cliff legislation? Your attempt to give the office of the President more power than he has to then slam him for not strongarming the congress is naive and suggestive.
Jan 3, 2013 1:45PM
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After Sandy hit the Coastal areas, and damage ensued, I thought 20 then 30 Billion would be enough, kinda thought the Media was throwing around thes figures also up to near 40-50 Billion??

$60 billion seems like a lot; Can't remember costs of Katrina along Gulf?....And don't really like counting expenses of Army Corp of Engineers..That just part of ongoing Gov't work, different budgets.??

 

The Storm did actually do damage all the way into the Ohio Valley, but I don't know if part of the money is going to those areas or not.?

Christie and other Officials along the Coast were ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, in calling out the House and it's Leadership....Although it is still the job of their Congressional(House&Senate) Reps to assess/gather the damage from estimates and reports to Bring to the Appropiate bodies of Government...The House and Senate.

What I find "Amazing" is the ignorance of "some Commentors" to bring up President Obama's name in all this;   HIS JOB is to "only sign or veto" the Bill presented by the House....

The House's job is to write and approve the Bill and "write" the check, along with Senate approval also...They seldom balk in disaster situations..

Jan 3, 2013 11:06AM
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For the Obama faithful that think he has yet to make his first mistake.... and absolve him of any blame on this issue:

If you think for one second that the president had no input on this high profile bill, then you have no understanding of how the US Government works. If Obama wanted a relief package included it would have been in the bill with all the other pork.

Jan 2, 2013 8:53PM
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I live in CT which is not nearly as corrupt as New York or New Jersey, yet I want to express my concern about dumping 60 billion dollars into these three states haphazardly without serious oversight as to how the money is spent. Yes people need help but let us give them help in an orderly and fiscally responsible manner. There are lessons to be learned from Katrina and how unwisely much of the funds were spent. There has already been a fair amount of scams and corruption in the aftermath of Sandy as well as an outpouring of generosity from private individuals much of which is unaccounted for. New York and New Jersey are notorious for corrupt contractors, politicians and unions, lets make sure the money goes to the people that need help not to them.
Jan 2, 2013 7:34PM
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Christie ( despite being a republican ) is a likable guy, his "straight talk" demeanor makes him pretty popular with main street America. The GOP does not have too many viable candidates for the presidency in the next election, it may be in their interest to keep Gov. Christie from defecting to the Democratic party then perhaps running for the White House in 2015.

 

Seems to me that the GOP does not have anyone at this point, the governor was already likable, and, had a sizeable national following before tropical storm Sandy, and, that following is now partnered with very strong national recognition, and, a very good perception of his being a man of the people, and, for the people after his performance following the storm.

 

I think he would be a very strong candidate in 2015 if he so chose, and, the GOP would be doing itself a disservice alienating or pushing him to the Dem party.

Jan 2, 2013 7:22PM
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Christy needs to Grow UP!  I don't hear the President before yesterday rattling the sabre to get a Sandy Relief Bill passed.  He has been waiting 60 days - well the first person he needs to speak with is the President to find out why he is not getting the help from the man he got elected.  ;-)  Further, if his State wasn't in such sad shape, budgetwise, he could have helped his constituency by putting his State money to work (but of course he doesn't have any) - all he can do is belly ache and pass the buck on his problem to others.  
Jan 2, 2013 6:53PM
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Interesting how Democratic Christie is sounding...doesn't it bother him at all the their are lots of things buried in the bill that have NOTHING to do with Sandy?   Fisheries in Canada...repairs to the Smithsonian, Amtrak etc. etc.   THIS is exactly why our country is running out of money and will soon be Greece and Spain 2.0 our elected officials don't have a backbone to do their job!

NOTHING unrelated to Sandy should be in that bill and that is why everyone should wait to vote on it until all unrelated expenses are removed!
Jan 2, 2013 6:41PM
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Tell Christy to go on a diet, like pensioners in N.J.
Jan 2, 2013 6:38PM
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Christie should call his buddy Obama for help. They could go for another walk on the beach.
The republican party owes Christie NOTHING.
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