In tandem with his “Shame on Congress speech,” Gov. Christie’s administration today released a comparison of the “unprecedented delay” in congressional approval for disaster relief funding for New Jersey and New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy with national natural disasters that came before. The results are striking.
Delay in Action on Hurricane Disaster Relief Funding Unprecedented
Congressional Action By the Numbers
“I would hope that the people in Congress could get their act together for about fifteen minutes and help people who are suffering. …If the Congress can’t even help Americans who have had their homes and their lives destroyed by a natural disaster then they might as well just board the place up and close it down.”
-Governor Chris Christie, December 21, 2012
Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012
39 days later…
The White House submits a request for $60.4 billion to Congress ( The White House , 12/7/12)
21 days later…
The Senate approves the request from The White House ( Reuters , 12/28/12)
66 days later…
The House of Representatives “Fails to Take Up Sandy Aid Bill” (Andrew Grossman, “House Fails to Take Up Sandy Aid Bill, Wall Street Journal , 1/2/13)
From landfall to signing of a relief package: Still Waiting
Comparison to Other Severe and Devastating Disasters
Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005
4 days later…
Congress approves and President Bush signs $10.5 billion in emergency relief. ( The Associated Press , 9/2/05; HR 3645)
5 days later…
The White House submits a request for $51.8 billion to Congress. ( The Washington Post , 9/8/05)
1 day later…
Congress passes and President Bush signs $51.8 billion relief package. (
The Associated Press
, 9/8/05; HR 3673)
From landfall to signing of a relief package: 10 days
Hurricane Gustav made landfall on September 1, 2008 and Hurricane Ike 12 days later
11 days later…
The House of Representatives passes H.R.2638 (Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009) which includes over $20 billion in Hurricane Gustav and Ike relief funding.( www.govtrack.us , Accessed: December 31, 2012)
3 days later…
The Senate passes the same bill. ( www.govtrack.us , Accessed: December 31, 2012)
3 days later…
President Bush signs the “Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009″ which includes over $20 billion in relief funding. (Press Release, “Statement by the President on H.R. 2638, the “Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009″, The White House , September 30, 2008, Accessed: December 31, 2012
From landfall to signing of an initial relief package: 17 days
Hurricane Andrew made landfall on August 24, 1992
25 days later…
A federal aid package was approved by both the House and Senate (Congressional Record, Daily Digest , Accessed: January 2, 2013)
5 days later…
The aid package was signed by President George H. W. Bush ( www.govtrack.us , Accessed: January 2, 2013)
From landfall to signing of an initial relief package: 31 days
“Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress, which places one-upsmanship ahead of the lives of the citizens who sent these people to Washington, D.C. in the first place,” Christie said during a news conference today.
WATCH IT HERE:
“America deserves better than just another example of a government who has forgotten who they are there to serve and why,” Christie said.
“Sixty six days and counting. Shame on you. Shame on Congress.”
Govs. Christie and Cuomo also issued a joint statement prior to the news conference:
With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable. It has now been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit and 27 days since President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bipartisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor. This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented. The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.
The people of our states can no longer afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games.
· 346,000 homes and housing units damaged or destroyed;
· Over 2.7 million households and businesses without power, as well as over 1000 schools;
· Over 116,000 people were under mandatory evacuation order and displaced at the height of the storm;
· Nearly 600 full or partial road closures;
· At the height of the sheltering effort, there were 127 shelters open, with an estimated 7,005 residents;
· Regional mass transit operations and infrastructure were hard hit, causing system-wide disruptions of NJ Transit and PATH service, including impacts to Hudson River crossings;
· All New Jersey schools were closed for two days, hundreds more remained closed beyond that.
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