Cuomo says he's skeptical House will approve $60B in Sandy aid
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday said he remains skeptical about the promise by Republican House leaders to hold votes Friday and on Jan. 15 on $60 billion for superstorm Sandy disaster aid.
Asked about the scheduled House vote Friday on $9.7 billion to replenish funds for the strapped federal flood insurance program, Cuomo replied he'd also been told there'd be a vote on the aid bill on Wednesday but it was scrapped.
"It's simple for me: Show me the money," Cuomo said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday set the votes for Friday and Jan. 15 on the remaining $60 billion in aid, only after a barrage of sharp criticism from Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other Northeast Republicans.
Boehner prompted the revolt when, on New Year's Day, he canceled a planned vote on the $27 billion Sandy aid bill and an additional $33 billion amendment that had been scheduled by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
Amid the uproar, Boehner on Wednesday promised New York and New Jersey lawmakers that he would hold a vote on the $9.7 billion for flood insurance Friday and a vote on the remaining $50.3 billion on Jan. 15.
The National Flood Insurance Program says it will soon run out of funds without an infusion of new money.
The Senate expects to hold a voice vote on the measure after the House approves it, as is expected, a Democratic Senate aide said.
The second vote, on Jan. 15, involves two measures - an $18 billion basic aid bill, and a $33 billion amendment containing funding for construction and other projects to prevent storm damage in the future.
Still, Cuomo isn't happy with the process.
"This has been an extraordinarily long delay," he said.
Koch: Credit New York's pols in vote flap
Former mayor Ed Koch, while doing press for the upcoming documentary "Koch," gave his thoughts on this week's uproar over the superstorm Sandy relief bill in the House.
What was your take on the struggle to get a vote on the Sandy package? I thought the New York delegation, particularly [Reps.] Peter King and Jerry Nadler, were especially articulate in denouncing the Speaker [of the House, John Boehner]. All the members of Congress that stood up, Democrats and Republicans, so embarrassed Boehner that he changed his position.
What did you think about Rep. Peter King's speech on the House floor? [He was] the most important speaker, because he threatened them with a loss of money support. I mean, half of America comes to New York to get money to run for office, right? And he said, "Don't give them another nickel." That scared the s--- out of them."
(SCOTT A. ROSENBERG)