TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie said he called House Speaker John Boehner four times late last night for an explanation as to why no vote was held in the House on Sandy aid but Boehner did not answer his calls.
Christie, who said that as late as 9 p.m. Tuesday he thought a vote would be held, slammed Boehner Wednesday, saying it’s “disgusting” that politics was placed ahead of residents’ needs.
Christie said he was informed at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday that the aid package would not come up for a vote.
“I called the Speaker four times last night after 11:20 and he did not answer my calls,” Christie said.
The governor railed against Boehner and said the Republican leader failed his oath of office by refusing to allow a vote on a $60.4 billion aid package for New Jersey and other states affected by superstorm Sandy.
“Last night, the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service,” said a heated Christie during an afternoon news conference.
“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” he said. “Natural disasters happen in red states and blue states.”
Christie said he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo received continuous assurances well into the evening that the aid package would come up for a vote.
“Unfortunately, folks are putting politics ahead of their responsibilities,” he said. “… I was given no explanation.”
The governor said internal politics were to blame for the package not hitting the floor for a vote.
“They forget that we sent them there. We sent them there to do the work for us,” Christie said.
“We have people down there who use the citizens of this country like pawns on a chess board,” he said. “Our people were played last night like pawns.”
Christie said President Obama called him earlier today and pledged continued support to win approval of the aid package. Christie also gave a lot of credit to Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez for his work in getting the bill through the upper chamber.
He made it clear where his anger is directed.
"At the moment I wouldn't be looking to do too much for the House leadership,'' Christie said.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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