President Obama this weekend signed the patchwork aid bill that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) put before the new Congress only after he was eviscerated by members of his own party and Hurricane Sandy victims for blocking a comprehensive hurricane relief package on the last day of the 112th Congress.
Because of that broken promise, the families and communities who are still recovering and trying to rebuild more than two months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Eastern seaboard will have to wait even longer before adequate federal disaster aid reaches them. Boehner says he will hold a vote Jan. 15 on a broader package.
But New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento greeted Boehner’s promise of a second bill with skepticism.
If nothing else, the dysfunctional and troubling process of securing assistance for victims of Sandy has taught us that promises are empty. We've got a long way to go before working men and women whose lives have been devastated receive the help they need to recover and rebuild. The labor movement will not rest until we reach that goal.
Relief could be flowing today if Boehner, as he promised, put the relief bill approved by a large bipartisan Senate majority in December to a House vote. That bill included the $9 billion in flood insurance funds in legislation Obama signed and also more than $51 billion to rebuild the homes and businesses destroyed by the storm, including funding for rebuilding and improving the transportation systems ravaged by Sandy or help for flood control and shore strengthening projects.