This video below took place late last night in the House of Representatives. It's Steve Womack, the House's presiding officer, ignoring calls to hold a vote on a much-needed aid package to Hurricane Sandy and instead adjourning for the night.
Here's why you should care: 1. The decision not to vote postpones aid relief to victims to at least January 15, 80 days after Sandy hit. (Katrina victims got federal relief 10 days after their hurricane's landfall.) 2. The $60.4 billion package already passed the Senate, but is in danger of dying without House support. 3. Last night's actions set up a hell of a fucking press conference from New Jersey governor Chris Christie today.
Christie addressed reporters a couple of hours ago and delivered no less than one of the most amazing political speeches you'll ever see, blasting his own party and anyone else who was responsible for the bill not passing. We don't post about politics a lot on here, and with good reason, but it's refreshing to see a leader today be this candid and intense—a rare sign of life in the utterly miserable world of Capitol Hill wheelings and dealings.
Some choice lines:
“Thirty-one days for Andrew victims. Seventeen days for victims of Gustav and Ike. Ten days for victims of Katrina,” he said. “For the victims of Sandy in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, there’s been sixty-six days and the wait continues. There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House Majority and their speaker, John Boehner. Last night, politics was placed before our oath to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
"Our people were played last night as a pawn...and that's why people hate Washington, D.C. They forget that we're the ones who sent them there."
"You don't play games with this. Apparently that was ripped out of the House leadership manual last night."
Christie used to be compared (unfavorably) to Tony Soprano. And it's true that his bluster sometimes borders on bullying. But can you imagine another politician handling the hurricane's aftermath like this?