President Obama urged House Republicans Wednesday to approve $60 billion in disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy, a piece of unfinished business after the fiscal cliff legislation was approved Tuesday.
“When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “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.”
The House adjourned Tuesday night without voting on the $60 billion Superstorm Sandy disaster aid bill that was approved by the Senate, prompting angry denunciations from lawmakers from the states hardest hit by the storm. The House had been considering a $27 billion aid package.
“We help each other,” said Rep. Rush Holt, New Jersey Democrat. “… There are thousands of people who are not going back to their homes. They deserve our help.”
Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, said it was “inexcusable” for Speaker John A. Boehner to “just walk out” without finishing the aid bill. A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said the Ohio Republican is committed to getting a bill passed sometime in January.
The GOP leadership was criticized after it was decided that the bill would not be considered until the 113th Congress, which convenes at noon on Thursday. Legislation does not carry over to the new Congress, so work on an aid bill would need to start over again. The president said House leaders should reconsider and vote as soon as possible.
“The House of Representatives has refused to act, even as there are families and communities who still need our help to rebuild in the months and years ahead, and who also still need immediate support with the bulk of winter still in front of us,” Mr. Obama said.
The storm caused widespread destruction in parts of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut two months ago.