When Congress adjourned in December without taking up desperately needed money for Hurricane Sandy relief, Republican John Boehner gave his word to an outraged public and to Northeast Republicans that $9 billion would be given as soon as the House gathered at the first of this month. That money was passed.
His second part of the promise was that this week, the remainder totaling $50 billion would be passed and sent to the devastated regions of the Northeast. That part of the promise, not surprisingly, is in serious trouble from Republican extremists in the House of Representatives. Despite the Speaker's promise to such individuals as Republican Congressman Peter King, Governor Chris Christie and the public, plans are underway either to stop the relief money or demand corresponding cuts in social programs as a criteria to aid those devastated by Sandy.
Never in the history of this country has any elected official attempted to stop relief and emergency assistance to an impacted people for political reasons. America has always prided itself on helping our neighbors in these horrible times of tragedy Certainly that has been illustrated by the outpouring of funds, supplies and workers from all over America to come to the aid of their fellow Americans especially in New York and New Jersey. Over 300,000 houses have been totally destroyed by the storm and close to 150 lives have been lost.
We saw the same American spirit with the Newtown school children shooting.
That awesome spirit apparently does not exist among House Republicans.
They would take the funds for our neighbors hurt by Sandy to cut programs that would help other people in need. They would hold hostage legislation that should have been passed over 70 days ago and let people suffer in the cold of winter for their own ideological nonsense. Those attempting to delay this disaster relief have no shame.
The question is can Speaker Boehner lead and get this urgently needed relief package passed or did he make a deal with the devil to simply hold the title of Speaker but not with any power?
We will find out the answer to that question this week and see if he can keep his promises to the tens of thousands who are suffering