A livid Chris Christie let the world know how angry he was at the House’s refusal to vote on an aid package for his devastated state last night in a live press conference as cameras rolled. He named names – John Boehner, Speaker of the House, was chief among them.
Boehner, a Republican like Christie, simply refused to have the House of Representatives vote on legislation to give federal funds to help rebuild severely damaged sections of New York and New Jersey. The aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt in those states as their governors try to lead reconstruction efforts. Such efforts, however, depend on federal dollars working with state dollars to repair roads, bridges, and infrastructure.
Until last night, Governor Christie thought he would get those dollars. After all, it’s been standard practice to get something from the federal government within about 10 days of a natural disaster, especially one with the size and scope of Hurricane Sandy, which took place almost 65 days ago.
But then Speaker Boehner pulled the rug out from under him. Says Christie:
“I was called at 11:20 last night by Leader Cantor and told that authority for the vote had been pulled by the speaker. Our delegation asked for a meeting with the speaker at that time. They were refused. I called the speaker four times last night after 11:20 and he did not take my calls.
Every day that we don’t get this aid are days that we can’t help people get back in their homes, get businesses reopened, get our economy really moving in our state again. It’s absolutely disgraceful. This used to be something that was not political. Disaster relief was something that you didn’t play games with.”
But it gets uglier:
“I’m not going to get into the specifics of what I discussed with John Boehner today but what I will tell you is there is no reason at the moment for me to believe anything they tell me. Because they have been telling me stuff for weeks, and they didn’t deliver.”
Christie hits the nail right on the head. It’s been 24 hours and the nation still has no explanation from John Boehner or his staff on why they pulled the bill off the House floor last nigth. Was it political retribution for some perceived slight from the states of New York and New Jersey? Is Boehner simply incompetent? Is he worried about losing his speakership?
Who cares? There’s a bigger story here. John Boehner – a Republican – isn’t doing his job, and Chris Christie – a Republican – called him out. That may confuse those who just cowardly tow the party line because both the hero and the villain are from the same party. Allow me to break it down for prevaricators like The Independent Journal Review’s Kevin Danielsen, who, judging by this vague and journalistically worthless quote, is clearly afraid of saying anything his readers might disagree with:
Should he [Christie] be blaming Republicans? Tough question, and there is no specific answer no matter what you believe.
Kevin, you’re wrong. There is a specific answer: this is absolutely fantastic. Christie standing up to Boehner means someone in this party is at least trying to be a leader. Leaders praise good performance but reprimand mistakes like Boehner’s tabling of the bill.
Suggesting otherwise, that we ought to shield someone from criticism because they’re in our party… well, let’s leave that to the Democrats.