Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Under pressure, Boehner is said to promise votes on hurricane Sandy relief

Rep. Peter King says Boehner made the promise to Republicans from the affected states. Earlier, President Obama joined a bipartisan chorus seeking immediate action on Sandy from the House.

By David Cook,?Staff writer / January 2, 2013

Republican Congressman Peter King of New York and other lawmakers speak to reporters after meeting with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, over the delayed vote on aid for the victims of Superstorm Sandy, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


President Obama Wednesday urged the House of Representatives to pass a disaster relief bill for Northeastern states hit by hurricane Sandy before the current congressional term expires at noon on Thursday.

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His appeal added to a bipartisan chorus of calls for immediate action, including from Republican members of Congress and top officials from the affected states who denounced a decision late Tuesday by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to pull the relief package from consideration.

But Rep. Peter King (R) of New York, among the more outspoken critics of the congressional inaction, announced Wednesday afternoon that he had been promised by Speaker Boehner that the House would in fact take up the disaster relief measures in the new session of Congress, beginning with a vote on Friday on $9 billion in flood insurance. Congressman King said Boehner, in a meeting with lawmakers from the Northeastern states, also pledged to schedule another vote on Jan. 15 for a further $51 billion in relief.

Mr. Obama, who left Washington Tuesday evening to join his family vacationing in Hawaii, issued a statement Wednesday saying, ?When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need. I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.?

Last week the Senate passed a $60.4 billion disaster assistance measure to help those affected by the late October superstorm, which killed 120 people and damaged or destroyed 651,000 homes in New York and New Jersey. The House had been expected to debate a similar measure on Wednesday before Boehner unexpectedly pulled the bill back Tuesday evening.

Boehner's decision surprised and angered politicians of both parties from the affected states.

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