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House lawmakers decline to vote on Sandy aid

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New York lawmakers are fuming over Congress’ decision to not vote on aid for Hurricane Sandy victims before their term expires.

The decision was made by Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, though a spokesman for Boehner said they plan on getting a bill passed this month.

On Friday, senators approved a $60.4 billion aid package for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents and businesses affected by Sandy. Several congressmen had said that the aid package contained unnecessary spending.

“Only 64 percent of the bill’s $60.4 billion will be spent within the next two years,” Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said in a Dec. 20 statement to The Hill. “We need to ensure the necessary resources are provided in response to true emergency needs.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey said she felt betrayed, while Congressman Eliot Engel called it a disgrace.

“The speaker should hang his head in shame,” Engel said.

On Jan. 2, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie released a joint statement, urging Congress to pass the aid package.

“With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable. It has now been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit and 27 days since President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bi-partisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor.

“This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented. The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.

“The people of our states can no long afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games.”

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