Oct 28, 2013

On One Year Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Runyan and LoBiondo are Putting Politics First

One year after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore, Congressmen Jon Runyan and Frank LoBiondo are still putting politics ahead of the people they represent who were affected by the storm.  In one year since Hurricane Sandy, at every opportunity Congressmen Runyan and LoBiondo have chosen to side with the Tea Party and Washington special interests groups and abandon their constituents who are still trying to rebuild from the storm.  Even though John Boehner delayed Sandy relief and denied New Jersey desperately needed resources for three months, Congressmen Runyan and LoBiondo still voted to make him Speaker of the House. Then when both Congressmen were forced to make the choice between delaying Sandy Aid by shutting down the government, or finding a responsible solution; both chose a reckless shutdown over the Sandy victims they represent.  Congressmen Runyan and LoBiondo even endorsed Steve Lonegan’s Senate candidacy despite that fact that Lonegan vocally opposed Sandy relief. 

“In the one year since Hurricane Sandy devastated the region, Congressman Jon Runyan and Congressman Frank LoBiondo have repeatedly chosen reckless party politics over New Jersey residents who are still struggling to recover from the storm,” said Marc Brumer of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  “Runyan and LoBiondo turned theirs back on Sandy Victims and voted to make John Boehner the Speaker of the House even though he delayed relief aid for thousands of New Jersey residents in need. They could care less that the reckless shutdown jeopardized Sandy aid for thousands of New Jersey residents because their only concern was siding with irresponsible Washington brinkmanship. They are both so out of touch with their constituents that they even threw their support behind Steve Lonegan who radically opposed Sandy Relief.”

 

BACKGROUND:

Sandy Aid “was Greased for Passage,” But Speaker Boehner “Refused to Bring it to the Floor.” “The aid package was greased for passage before the last Congress adjourned and the new one came in on Jan. 3. But Speaker John Boehner refused to bring it to the floor after two-thirds of House Republicans voted against a ‘fiscal cliff’ deficit-reduction deal raising taxes on couples making more than $450,000 a year while deferring some $24 billion in spending cuts to defense and domestic programs.” [Associated Press, 1/28/13]

  • Sandy Aid Package was Passed “Three Months after Superstorm Sandy devastated” the Region. “Three months after Superstorm Sandy devastated the coastal areas of New Jersey and New York, Congress finally passed a $50.5 billion bill to rebuild homes, businesses, utilities, mass transit and other critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, thousands of those dispossessed by the storm shivered in temporary housing and shelters during the Northeastern winter. This delay does no credit to the Congress...” [Newsday, McFeatters Op-Ed, 1/29/13]

Congressman Runyan and LoBiondo Voted to Re-elect Boehner Speaker of the House even After Boehner Delayed the Vote on the Sandy Relief Bill. In January 2013, Congressman Runyan and LoBiondo voted to re-elect John Boehner Speaker of the House. Boehner received 220 votes in support of his election as Speaker, winning with “a bare majority.” During the week that Boehner was elected speaker, he was criticized for delaying the vote on the Hurricane Sandy Relief bill. [The Hill, 1/3/13; 113th Congress, Vote #2, 1/3/13]

Congressmen Runyan and LoBiondo Backed Multiple Government Appropriations Plans that led to the Shutdown. In September 2013, Runyan and LoBiondo voted for four of the House Republicans continuing resolutions plans that essentially guaranteed a government shutdown. According to the Washington Post: “The U.S. government was poised to shut down for the first time in 17 years late Monday, as House Republicans clung tenaciously to their demand that any agreement to fund federal agencies must also undermine President Obama’s 2010 health-care law.” [Washington Post, 9/30/13; HJ RES. 59, Vote #478, 9/20/13; HJ Res 59, Vote #497, 9/29/13; HJ Res 59, Vote #498, 9/29/13; HJ Res 59, Vote #504, 9/30/13]

  • House Republican Appropriations Committee: A Government Shutdown Would Mean “No Disaster Relief for Ongoing Recovery, Including for Hurricane Sandy.” According to a report authored by the House Republican Appropriations Committee, a government shutdown would mean “No disaster relief for ongoing recovery, including for Hurricane Sandy and Oklahoma efforts” and also “no first responder grants.” [House Republican Appropriations Committee, accessed 9/30/13]
  • Mayor Bloomberg: Shutdown Delayed “Vital and Mandatory” Aid for Hurricane Sandy Victims. “Mayor Bloomberg on Sunday urged Congress to solve the shutdown crisis before it starts to really hurt victims of Hurricane Sandy, many of whom are reliant on federal aid to rebuild. ‘Because Community Development Block Grants and other types of federal aid require approvals and constant correspondence with federal officials, we have been advised that delays in vital and mandatory tasks are inevitable,’ the mayor said in his weekly radio address.” [New York Post, 10/06/13]

Congresssmen Runyan and LoBiondo Endorsed U.S. Senate Candidate who Called the Hurricane Sandy Relief Package “Ridiculous” and a “Boondoggle.” During the summer of 2013, Congressmen LoBiondo and Runyan both endorsed Steve Lonegan’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Lonegan has expressed a series of very extreme positions, including his extensive criticism of Hurricane Sandy relief. Lonegan wrote: “Calling ‘ridiculous’ a $60.4 Billion aid request for Hurricane Sandy relief, New Jersey Americans for Prosperity State Director Steve Lonegan said that politicians were using the hurricane as an excuse for a free-for-all on the U.S. Treasury. […] ‘The President, who will be submitting this request to Congress, needs to explain exactly how this money will be spent and how many New Jersey residents should expect a check for $4,200 or more and exactly who these people are.’ […] ‘He also needs to explain to the more than Three Hundred Million Americans why he wants to make them pay nearly $200 each to fund this disaster relief boondoggle.’ […] With the deficit the number one issue facing the Congress, Republicans need to turn off the open-ended disaster aid spigot.” [Americans for Prosperity New Jersey, 12/08/12]

  • LoBiondo: “I Support Steve Lonegan for the U.S. Senate and Believe he is the Best Candidate for the Job.” [Lonegan for Senate Press Release, 6/28/13]
  • Runyan Endorsed Lonegan For Senate in New Jersey, Saying “We Need More People in Washington” Like Him.  “We need more people in Washington who are willing to talk straight with the American people and tackle the very serious economic and fiscal problems facing the country, instead of sweeping them under the rug. […] I am confident Mayor Lonegan would do just that as senator, and that’s why I am endorsing him today,” Runyan said in a written statement. [Burlington County Times, 7/26/13]

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