I was watching in amazement as Rep Peter King, a Long Island NY Republican, and a frequent screamer at anything Democratic or Progressive, was given the opportunity to bash Speaker Boehner and his fellow Republicans for almost 15 minutes straight on CNN this morning. CNN, to its credit, stayed with the interview knowing that they were recording something very unusual. The Republican House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Mr. King, was beside himself in erupting with anger and hostility directed toward the Republicans Speaker and his fellow Republican Memebers of Congress for their failure to bring the $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill to a vote.
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Representative King was extremely vocal in his condemnation of his Republican colleagues who come to NY/NJ for cash to fund their Congressional campaigns, but have now refused to pass a bill to help his and NJ Governor Christie's constituents in the hurricane's aftermath. King urged his constituents to give not a penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. King also said that he was now going to be very independent with his votes, but that he was not leaving the Republican party.
Chairman King will now be in the position of explaining to his constituents, many of whom living in the Long Island NY suburbs are reliable Republican votes in a heavily blue state, why his Republican colleagues have essentially told NY/NJ that they are on their own in the face of this natural disaster. It must be especially galling that some of the areas that were hardest hit, Staten Island, parts of Long Island, in addition to Monmouth and Ocean Counties in NJ, are reliable Republican areas that always turn out to elect Republicans in these two largely Democratic states. And now their Republican friends have abandoned them in the aftermath of Sandy. Even if this measure is taken up in the next Congress, it will add months, perhaps years of delay in rebuilding as municipalities in both states face bankruptcy due to emergency storm related expenditures coupled with decreased tax bases.
Republican members of Congress will have plenty to explain to their constituents in NY and NJ as to how their Republican colleagues across the nation abandoned them in their hour of need. Were it another anti-abortion bill or school prayer bill, it would have made it on the Republican House agenda in a flash, but relief from a natural disaster for the Northeast, not so much. Chairman King was starting the fight for his political survival on CNN this morning, and it was fascinating to watch as his heaped truckloads of abuse on his Republican colleagues. Local and National Democrats should move fast to make the case that the Republican Party has abandoned New York and New Jersey in their hour of need, as Republicans consider political gamesmanship to be more important than the needs of Americans who happen to be left in the wake of a natural disaster.