For those unable to watch the video above, here’s a partial transcript of the scathing remarks made this afternoon by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in which he lambasted fellow Republicans in the U.S. House for their refusal to act on an emergency-relief bill for his state and others devastated by Hurricane Sandy back in October:
“Thirty-one days for Andrew victims. Seventeen days for victims of Gustav and Ike. Ten days for victim of Katrina. For the victims of Sandy in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, it has been 66 days, and the wait continues. There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner.
“… National disasters happen in red states and blue states and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors. We respond to national disasters not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Or at least we did, until last night. Last night, politics was placed before oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch….”
“I’ve always put the people of New Jersey and my oath ahead of personal, petty politics. Last night, the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state.
“On the equities, this should be a no-brainer for the House Republicans as well. Both New York and New Jersey used the international firm of McKinsey and Co. to assess and quantify the damage to our states. Our professional staffs have spent countless hours with congressional staff providing leadership and back-up documentation for all the damage claims. Gov. Cuomo and I have spent hours and hours speaking to individual members of the House and Senate to answer their questions. We worked with President Obama and his administration and satisfied them of the urgent need of this $60 billion aid package.
“This was good enough for 62 United States senators of both parties to vote for this package. This was good enough for a majority of the House of Representatives. It overcame all the factual challenges. It just could not overcome the toxic internal politics of the House majority.
“Finally, New York and New Jersey are perennially among the most generous states in the nation to our fellow states. We vote for disaster relief for other states in need. We are donor states, sending much more to Washington, DC than we ever get back in federal spending. Despite this history of unbridled generosity, in our hour of desperate need we’ve been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina, with no end in sight.
“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, DC, in the first place. New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. New York deserves better than the selfishness we saw on display last night. New Jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw on display last night. America deserves better than just another example of a government that has forgotten who they are there to serve, and why.
Sixty-six days and counting. Shame on you. Shame on Congress.”
Christie’s anger is perfectly justified, for all the reasons that he laid out and more. But as he suggested in his comments, this is merely the latest egregious example of the ideological preening and misplaced priorities exhibited by those in control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
– Jay Bookman