WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans and Democrats from New York and New Jersey today lashed out at House Speaker John Boehner for pulling legislation on Hurricane Sandy aid, demanding that he reverse course and allow a vote as their constituents continue to struggle with the aftermath of the devastating storm.
President Barack Obama called for an immediate House vote, and governors of the two states called House inaction a "dereliction of duty."
The House adjourned for the day, set to return on Thursday at 11 a.m. for an hour before the new Congress begins at noon.
Just hours after he put off a vote, Boehner was scheduled to meet privately with Republican lawmakers from the two states. The speaker was caught between conservative lawmakers who want to offset any increase in spending and Northeast and Mid-Atlantic lawmakers determined to help their states recover more than two months after the storm hit.
The criticism of Boehner on the House floor was personal at times, and reflected in part the frustration among rank-and-file over the decision to press ahead with a vote on the fiscal cliff deal engineered by the White House and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. Boehner had been struggling with conservatives who complained that the economic package didn't include enough spending cuts.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, said he was frustrated after Boehner pulled the bill Tuesday night and tried to call him four times, but none of the calls were returned. Christie termed it "absolutely disgraceful" and complained about the "toxic internal politics" of the House majority.
"There is no reason for me at the moment to believe anything they tell me," Christie said.