Boehner promises Sandy aid vote by Jan. 15 - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Boehner promises Sandy aid vote by Jan. 15

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House Republican leaders are getting criticized even by members of their own party for not allowing a vote on a federal aid package to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

GOP House Speaker John Boehner made a surprise announcement Tuesday night postponing the vote on federal aid already approved by the Senate.

That set off blistering criticism of him, most notably from fellow Republicans.

"There's only one group to blame for the victims' continued suffering, the house majority and their speaker John Boehner," said Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey).

New York area-lawmakers, including some Republicans, are furious that the House Republican leadership has abandoned the vote on Sandy aid.

New York Congressman Peter King calls the decision "inexcusable."

Reps. Michael Grimm, a Republican, and Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said on the House floor Wednesday that while they did not agree on much, House Speaker John Boehner's decision would be a crushing blow to states battered by the late October storm.

In a statement from the White House, President Obama urged Boehner to change his mind, but the speaker stood firm and promised to make sandy relief a priority when the new Congress starts work Thursday, guaranteeing a vote by January 15th.

Some Republicans have said they are satisfied with this promise to move on the aid package.

Obama said in a written statement that many people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are trying to recover from the storm and need "immediate support with the bulk of winter still in front of us."

The Senate approved a $60.4 billion measure Friday to help with recovery from the storm. The House Appropriations Committee has drafted a smaller, $27 billion measure, and a vote had been expected before Congress' term ends Thursday at noon.

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