Hurricane Sandy Reliefby Representative Peter T. King
Posted on 2013-01-02
KING of New York. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At the outset, let me
thank you for your service during your time in Congress, and thank you
for your remarks here this morning.
I think it's important to set the record straight. Last night, many of us came to the floor and rightly said that the conduct of the Republican leadership was disgraceful, it was indefensible, and it was immoral. But I think it's important to lay out the facts as to how we reached this situation so we're not put in a position of name-calling or somehow we're angry or feelings are hurt. This goes far beyond any of that.
The fact is, as Congresswoman Lowey said, within 10 days after Katrina, $60 billion was appropriated. That number ended up going well over $100 billion. It's now 9 weeks and nothing has been appropriated by this Congress for the people of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island, which I represent.
The fact is that over the last 5, 6, 7 weeks we did everything that the Republican leadership asked us to do. Governor Cuomo came down. I was at the meeting. He met with the Speaker. Governor Christie came down. He met with the Speaker. Governor Bloomberg came down. He met with the majority leader. We were asked to submit detailed documentation. Governor Christie, Governor Cuomo, and Mayor Bloomberg all submitted absolute documentation. When we asked if anything else is required, they said, No, you've given us all we need.
When the bill came from the Senate, we were told there was some pork in [[Page H7572]] the bill. That was taken out of the bill. The bill that was going to be voted on on the House floor was exactly in compliance with what the Republican leadership asked us to do.
Let me just say at this time, in my dealings with him, Majority Leader Cantor has been very straightforward, very direct. Last night, I know that he was fighting to get the bill on the calendar. It was the Speaker that, for whatever reason, walked off the floor and said that the bill was being pulled.
Now I don't enjoy saying this. I consider myself a personal friend of John Boehner. And John Boehner personally has been very helpful to me over the years. So it pains me to say this. But the fact is the dismissive attitude that was shown last night toward New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, typifies, I believe, a strain in the Republican Party. I know this is not the place to discuss politics, but that politics seeps over into a governmental decision that was made.
I can't imagine that type of indifference, that type of disregard, that cavalier attitude being shown to any other part of the country when we're talking about real life-and-death situations here--and to just have the Speaker walk off and not even tell us. He tells an aide to the majority leader, who then tells us that the item that means life and death was taken off the calendar and is gone for this session.
Now they say it's going to be brought back up in January. The fact is: let's be real. We're not in session next week. The following week we're in session for 2 days. The following week is the inauguration, and we're in recess for 2 days. Then we have the State of the Union. Committees haven't even organized yet. And does anyone believe if they wouldn't vote for a $60.4 billion last night, that the Appropriations Committee is suddenly going to get religion and going to vote the full amount, when we know what their attitude is--that somehow money going to New York and New Jersey and Connecticut is corrupt money, when money going to their States is so honorable. I would just say that these people have no problem finding New York when it comes to raising money. It's only when it comes to allocating money that they can't find the ability to do it.
So I'm standing here on the House floor today saying we have a moral obligation as Republicans, as Democrats, as Americans. I spoke to Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo. We've been in constant contact with Mayor Bloomberg. We cannot believe that this cruel knife in the back was delivered to our region. I have to go home this weekend and next weekend and the week after and see the hundreds and thousands of people who are out of their homes, who don't have shelter, who don't have food, and they're living with relatives, friends, and living in trailers. This is not the United States of America. This should not be the Republican Party. This should not be the Republican leadership.
I'm asking the Speaker, tell Hal Rogers and these people who somehow who have become very sanctimonious when dealing with New York and New Jersey that they have an obligation to do what they have to do--and that's provide the aid and relief that we need. If there's one penny that they have a problem with, let us know. But don't walk out in the dark of night and ignore us.