NJ Gov. Christie blasts Congress over delay in Sandy aid vote

(CBS News) TRENTON, N.J. - The sigh of relief that came when the House passed the fiscal cliff deal was soon drowned out by a roar of anger. Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York, along with Senators and House members from those states, blasted Speaker John Boehner Wednesday for putting off a vote on aid for victims of superstorm Sandy.

At the statehouse in New Jersey, Republican Gov. Christie said the people of his state are being used as political pawns just two months after Sandy hit.

"Sixty-six days and counting," said Christie in his remarks. "Shame on you. Shame on Congress."

Superstorm Sandy caused over $36 billion in damage in New Jersey. Christie said he was assured by congressional leaders that the aid package would be put to a vote. But House Speaker Boehner pulled the legislation and did not return Christie's phone calls.

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"Disaster relief was something you didn't play games with," said Christie.

Asked if he felt betrayed, Christie answered: "Yes. If if people of New Jersey feel betrayed today by those who did this in the House last night, then they have good company. I'm with them."

Boehner said he pulled the bill because of scheduling problems. But some members of Congress questioned how the $60 billion aid package would be spent.

New York Congressman Peter King -- a Republican -- would have none of it.

"Congressional Republicans never have any trouble finding New York City or New York when it comes to raising money," he said. "This is a two-way street. If they are not going to help us, why should we even think of helping them?"

On Wednesday afternoon, congressional leaders announced they would vote Friday on funding for flood insurance. But a vote on the bulk of the aid has been pushed to January 15.

"Go ask any family if the delay bothers them," said New York Gov. Cuomo. "Yes, the length of time people is already been too long. And the federal assistance can make a major difference."

Speaker Boehner met with GOP lawmakers from New York and New Jersey late Wednesday afternoon. Afterwards, Congressman King called it a positive meeting and he said he now believes that the region's storm victims will get the aid they need.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.

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