Several members of Connecticut\’s all-Democratic congressional delegation expressed their anger this morning at House Speaker John Boehner\’s decision to put off a vote on aid for victims of Storm Sandy.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, whose New Haven-county shoreline district was hit hard by the storm, called the decision \”a shocking display of neglect\” on the part of the House majority.
\”Hurricane Sandy was one of the most severe storms to hit Connecticut in our state\’s history,\’\’ DeLauro said on the floor of the House this morning. \”All across our region…houses were destroyed and lives were upended and whether it had been a fire in the West, a tornado in the Midwest, a hurricane in the Gulf Coast or a storm in the Northeast, this body acted.
\”Yet here we are, two months since Sandy destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, took a hundred lives across this nation, [and] this house majority said no on a vote of disaster assistance to help millions of people get back on their feet again. The Republican leadership has broken that contract of citizenship,\’\’ DeLauro said.
Reps. Jim Himes and Joe Courtney both invoked the sacrifices of first responders and others in their comments on the floor of the House.
\”Homes were wiped out, utility infrastructure was wiped out, transportation infrastructure was wiped out,\” said Courtney, who represents eastern Connecticut, where communities such as East Lyme and Stonington suffered widespread damage due to the storm.
\”But what was so inspiring about it was that the first responders acted…In the weeks since then, the Senate has acted, President Obama declared an emergency on Oct 30., the Department of Homeland Security acted.
The only place that hasn\’t acted is the House of Representatives, which last night, in the dark of the night, the speaker announced that he was abandoning the people of Northeastern America and allowing the Hurricane Sandy relief bill to die,\’\’ Courtney said.
\”The people who acted, the first responders, the caregivers, the local officials–they deserve better,\’\’ the congressman added. \”The Speaker must reverse his decision; it is time to act today.\”
Himes, who represents Fairfield County, another part of the state that experienced widespread damage, recalled the devastation, but also \”the response of the people, who stood up and said, \’I will help.\”\’
Himes mentioned the firefighters of Old Greenwich, the Red Cross in Bridgeport, the churches and schools that opened their doors to cold and hungry displaced residents and also the sacrifice of Easton firefighter
Russ Neary, who was killed by a falling tree in the line of duty.
Addressing Boehner directly, Himes said, \”Mr. Speaker, let me tell you one second about Lt. Russ Neary…who left his wife and two daughters behind to go serve the people of Easton. I attended his funeral several days later because he was killed that night doing what is best about all of us, which is that we stand up and we say we will help in times of crisis.\”
Himes contrasted Neary\’s sacrifice with the decision by the House leadership to delay action on the bill until the next Congress is seated.
\”Every charitable instinct, every dignified thing, everything that is noble about what those people did that night is denied by the decision of the Republican leadership to not bring up Sandy today and to leave desperate and vulnerable people hanging.
\”Mr Speaker, reverse your decision now and let\’s do the right thing by our people.\”