A livid Gov. Chris Christie blamed Speaker of the House John Boehner and congressional Republicans for the “continued suffering” of victims of Hurricane Sandy on Wednesday after the House failed to bring relief aid legislation up for vote before the session ended.
“There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, in an afternoon news conference.
Christie noted in his remarks that it has been 66 days since the devastating storm and “the wait continues” for Congress to pass an aid package. The House adjourned Tuesday night.
“Last night, the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state,” Christie said.
Responding to an email from The Daily Caller, Boehner spokesman Michael Steele said, “The speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month.”
Christie’s press conference came before Boehner was scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon with the Republican members of the New York and New Jersey congressional delegations.
Boehner is telling those members that he plans to make the aid package his “first priority” in the new Congress.
But Christie was steamed it hasn’t happened already, blaming the delay on “the toxic, internal politics of the House majority.”
“Sixty-six days and counting,” Christie said. “Shame on you. Shame on Congress.”
Christie said he had been “given assurances by everyone” as late as Tuesday night that the package would be done. “All I can tell you this: It was the speaker’s decision,” Christie said. “His alone.”
Christie said he was “given no explanation” when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called him after 11 P.M. on Tuesday and told him the vote was pulled by Boehner.
“I called the speaker four times last night after 11:20 and he did not take my calls,” Christie said.
While he had harsh words for Boehner, he expressed gratitude for Cantor. “I have to tell you that I think that Eric was working as hard as he could to get this done for us throughout the weekend and early part of this week,” he said.
But Christie wouldn’t get specific when asked what internal politics involving the Capitol Hill Republicans he believed had caused Boehner to delay a vote.
“I think you’ve seen a lot of palace intrigue down there and, unfortunately, folks are putting politics ahead of their responsibilities,” Christie said.