BY CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER CHRISTINE QUINN AND COUNCILMEMBER DOMENIC RECCHIA
When disaster strikes, Americans come together to support one another.
But Congress and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner have sought to divide our nation by playing party politics with people’s lives and delaying much needed emergency relief to New York and our neighbors in New Jersey and Connecticut.
After Hurricane Katrina and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, Congress took, at most, 10 days to appropriate emergency funds. Yet more than 70 days have passed since Hurricane Sandy devastated our region—claiming over 100 lives and destroying countless homes and businesses up and down the coast—and now Congress has hit the reset button on getting $60 billion in emergency aid to our area quickly.
Speaker Boehner’s failure to bring the Sandy relief package to a vote earlier this month means a new session of Congress must once again bring the funding package to a vote in both Congressional chambers.
It’s an outrage that Congress walked away from New Yorkers and ended its legislative session without appropriating the already reduced $60.4 billion in emergency spending for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
When natural disasters have devastated other regions of the country, the Congressional delegations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have never hesitated to support emergency disaster relief.
Thousands of Americans are still without homes, and hundreds of small businesses are still shuttered due to the severe damage caused by this storm. The human and economic impact of Sandy is so severe and evident, it’s impossible to understand why the House would go into recess before taking action to assist our region.
We urge Speaker Boehner to appropriate needed money to our area without further delay, and to visit Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and explain to those who lost family members, loved ones and homes why he pulled the vote and why it’s taken so long to get those impacted money.
It’s not just the duty of public servants to come to people’s aids in times of crisis — it’s the American way.
Christine Quinn is City Council speaker; Councilmember Domenic Recchia represents portions of southwest Brooklyn and is chair of the Council’s Finance Committee.