Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by Joseph Kellard.
A vote on a $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster relief bill that Congress was expected to hold Wednesday, but was denied by Speaker John Boehner, will likely come later this month, Sen. Charles Schumer stated at a press conference in Long Beach.
Speaking from the storm-damaged home of Long Beach City Council member Fran Adelson on Wednesday, Schumer said that Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm, Republicans from New York’s 3rd and 13th Congressional Districts respectively, will meet with Boehner later in the day “in an effort to get a commitment from him … that we will get this done the first week we get back in the new Congress.”
The senator explained that since a new Congress will be sworn in Thursday and will start on Jan. 21, the relief bill must first return for a vote in the Senate, where a similar version of the bill was approved last Friday.
“Our goal is to have both houses pass the bill by January 30,” Schumer said.
During a late Congressional session on New Year’s Day, Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled the disaster relief bill before it went to the floor for a vote. The bill was drafted to aid hurricane victims in New Jersey and New York, including Long Island from Long Beach to the Hamptons, and the failure to vote on it means certain funds that require authorization – including FEMA disaster monies – will be delayed. Schumer said that the bill’s funding is structured to assist homeowners and business owners, as well as prevent the Long Island Power Authority from raising rates.
“For the speaker to pull the rug out from under us at the last minute like he did is a disgrace,” said Schumer, who expressed confidence that the bill will pass.
Patch’s call to Boehner’s office Wednesday was not returned, but his spokesman, Michael Steel, said previously that the speaker is “committed to getting the bill passed this month,” according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Edward Issa, a Republican Congressman from California, told Fox News Wednesday morning that the relief bill was loaded with unrelated spending that had doubled its costs. “(They) packed this with pork, had the opportunity to have a $27 to $30 billion legitimate relief package, packed it with pork, and then dared us not to vote on it,” he said on Fox & Friends.
With Adelson and other Long Beach homeowners standing beside him, Schumer dared Issa to visit Adelson’s home. “I want him to come to this house … and look around and see what happened and then say it’s pork to give you federal help to rebuild,” he said.
The Sandy aid is a package of two bills that require seperate votes: one on a scaled-back $27 billion bill; the other on a $33 billion amendment to match the Senate's $60.4 billion aid measure, according to Newsday.