Everyone Needs to Simmer Down a Little Bit about the Sandy Relief Bill
If you used the Twitter machine or watched cable news this morning, you’ve probably gotten wind of the strong feelings of Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.) about John Boehner’s decision to postpone a House vote on the Senate’s Sandy relief bill until after the new Congress is inaugurated. King seems a touch peeved, to say the least — he told Fox News last night that “anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to Congressional Republicans is out of their minds. Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.” You’d think Boehner ran around the Rockaways dumping water on people’s houses and kicking their doors in.
The truth is less meriting of histrionics. Given the slim-to-non-existent spending cuts in the fiscal-cliff deal, it’s understandable that Republicans wouldn’t want to immediately turn around and pass $60 billion in new spending — much of which has nothing to do with hurricane relief, as Katrina Trinko has pointed out. That said, Boehner’s press secretary, Michael Steel, told me the speaker is committed to getting the bill passed this month. And that timing is perfectly fine — CQ reported that Craig Fugate, the director of FEMA, told lawmakers that though the agency will need more funding this fiscal year, it has enough resources to deal with the aftermath of the storm through the spring. So whether the bill gets passed this week or next week shouldn’t have any bearing on the speediness of Sandy recovery. Deep breaths in and out, guys.