WASHINGTON — Republican members of the New York and New Jersey delegations will vote for John Boehner to retain his speakership Thursday, they told reporters Wednesday, in spite of some indications to the contrary after Boehner opted to adjourn the House without passing the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill.
Tempers were running high among members of the New York and New Jersey delegations late last night and into Wednesday morning. New York Rep. Peter King said on CNN that “anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one single penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined. I would not give one penny to these people, based on what they did to us last night.”
A spokesman for New York Rep. Michael Grimm told The Washington Post that the congressman was considering abstaining on Thursday when the House votes for speaker.
But when Republican members of the two delegations emerged from a 3 p.m. meeting with Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor with a commitment that the Sandy bill would be brought up in two parts over the next two weeks, all anger seemed to be forgotten.
“What’s done is done,” King said repeatedly, adding: “Bottom line is we’re getting what we want.”
The delegations secured a promise from Boehner and Cantor that the bill would be voted on in two parts. On Friday, the speaker will hold a vote for $9 billion in flood insurance to go to the affected areas. On Jan. 15, the first day that it is possible to do so, a vote will be held on the remaining $51.7 billion that was in the original relief package.
Boehner explained in the meeting that after the fiscal cliff vote, “This wasn’t the right time” for bringing up the relief bill, King said.
“It was a horrendous day with some horrific votes which a lot of our conference was very unhappy with. … I think that the speaker just felt that it wasn’t fair for the conference,” said Grimm.
He added: “Although I have to respect his position, I don’t have to agree with it. I disagree with it wholeheartedly, and for me it was absolutely an indefensible call, but he made the call, and that’s what it is.” (RELATED: Christie blasts Boehner)
The tone of the meeting, Grimm said, did not have the harshness or anger that was present in floor speeches and television appearance since the decision not to vote was announced last night.
“It was very cordial,” King said. “It was not even a hint of hard feelings.”
King said Boehner greeted him with a smile on his face and what he jokingly referred to as a “term of endearment.”
“If you weren’t smiling, it would not be a term of endearment,” King explained, laughing.