No Deal From Congress On Sandy Relief
By Luis Gronda
The United States Congress will not vote on the billon-dollar aid package designed to help with recovery efforts from Superstorm Sandy, which ignited outrage from many lawmakers, including some from Queens.
The package aims to give $60.4 billion to residents in New York, New Jersey and other areas who have been most affected by the storm. The Senate approved the bill on Dec. 28 and a vote on it had been expected by Wednesday, the last day the current Congress will be in session.
Its decision not to vote on the bill has sparked anger from Queens elected officials.
Speaking on the floor of Congress Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, (D-Jackson Heights) criticized Congressional Republicans for not voting on the aid package.
"In the weeks after the storm, Republicans told us they were with us, that they supported us," Crowley said. "But, I guess those were only words because last night we learned the truth. And thanks to their actions there's no federal assistance to help hard-working people rebuild, restart."
U.S. Rep Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) criticized Congress and Speaker John Boehner for not voting on the aid package.
"The first thing I want to do is say to the Speaker, come walk with me, Mr. Speaker. Come walk with me. Let's walk the beaches of the Rockaway Peninsula. You'll see a place where every soul, no matter whether you were rich or whether you were poor, no matter whether you were black or whether you were white, every individual, no matter what your religious belief was, every individual was affected by this storm. Everyone," he said during his floor statement on Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who represents parts of Long Island City that were hit hard by the storm, called the no-vote "an act of spiteful indifference."
"By refusing to act on a bill to provide urgently needed funds to help repair the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, Speaker Boehner has turned his back on 17 million people affected by the second worst natural disaster in our nation's history," Maloney said in a statement.
Congresswoman-elect Grace Meng also joined the line of politicians criticizing Congress for not holding a vote.
"The decision to not vote on the crucial aid package for the victims of Hurricane Sandy is outrageous and unacceptable," said Meng, who was elected to Congress in November after defeating Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). "New Yorkers continue to suffer from the havoc Sandy wreaked upon our region, and they desperately need help now."
The storm that struck multiple states along the eastern seaboard left many people without power and caused millions of dollars in damages to houses and businesses.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.