Superstorm Sandy smashed the homes and businesses of our friends and neighbors in the river Villages of Piermont, the Nyacks, Grandview and Stony Point. All along the lower Hudson, the riverfronts of towns and villages where swamped and devastated.
The New Jersey shore, from Cape May on the South for 125 miles North to Sandy Hook, the storm caused massive devastation.
Downtown New York City was engulfed in massive waves that flooded subways, tunnels, homes and hospitals. Waterfronts in Connecticut and Long Island were wrecked.
In the days following the storm, the governors of New York, New Jersey & Connecticut asked Congress to immediately pass a large monetary aid bill, as Congress has done many times in past decades, when devastation struck Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Iowa, Mississippi, California or any other state.
The aid bill passed the US Senate with bipartisan support in December and was slated to go to the floor of the House, where it was expected to easily pass.
It quickly became evident that the people whose homes and businesses had been devastated by Superstorm Sandy, would again be devastated by US House of Representatives when Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, announced he’d postpone a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill until 2013.
Congress went to their warm, comfortable homes to celebrate Christmas while the residents of the devastated areas watched their homes continue to crumble.
Democratic leaders were tricked by Boehner’s sudden unannounced decision to delay the $60 billion relief bill until the 2013 Congress. Democrats were not the only ones blind-sided. Republican Congressman Peter King of New York immediately called a large press meeting. He said, “This has been a betrayal of trust. We were told at every stage that this was definitely going to be voted on. It is inexcusable. It is wrong. It is unprecedented in this country for the United States Congress to walk away from a natural disaster.”
After issuing a joint press release with Governor Cuomo of New York, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie went on television blasting Boehner and the House Republicans for failing to allow a vote on Hurricane Sandy Relief.
“There is only one group to blame—the House Republican Majority and John Boehner,” said Christie. “Last night, the House Majority failed the most basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard of the people of my state. It was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
Home owners had no money to repair their homes so their homes continued to crumble while businesses lost week after week of income.
FEMA had done its job; all along the damaged East cost, it issued checks that were meant to cover emergency living expenses and repairs but soon its funds ran low. To
compound the tragedy, some insurance companies have been slow to pay their policy holders.
Eleven weeks after Superstorm Sandy struck, the United States House of Representatives finally voted—not for the $60 billion needed, but for only $50 billion.
After many hours of hostile debate in which many Republicans tried to make further cuts in the size of the bill, the House finally approved the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, in a 241-180 vote. Among Republicans, 49 voted aye and 179 voted nay.
The debate got aggressive, as Republicans from the Northeast battled their Southern and Midwestern colleagues.
Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Republican from the 2nd Congressional District in New Jersey—an area heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy—shouted at any member who opposed the bill. “Florida!” he said, “Good luck with no more hurricanes! California! Congratulations! Did you get rid of the San Andreas Fault? The Mississippi’s in a drought. Do you think you’re never going to have a flood again?”