1:45 pm Jan. 2, 2013
House Speaker John Boehner failed to let the House vote on a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill for the metropolitan region late last night, following a revolt within his conference over the fiscal cliff deal.
Today, following a press conference about education policy, Governor Andrew Cuomo called the House's failure to pass the relief bill, which had already won Senate approval, "inexcusable on every level" and a "dereliction of duty."
Once a new Congress is sworn in, the Senate and House will have to consider and vote on the bill all over again. Congressional leaders have told Cuomo it will take another month or so.
"If you look at the time of response, this is incredibly slow compared to past disasters," said Cuomo.
"To leave New York and New Jersey and thousands of people in this holiday season on their own and abandoned was wrong and disgraceful in a lot of ways," he said.
Cuomo placed the blame squarely on Republicans.
"I understand the speaker has to be reelected and a new Congress starts," he said. "I get all that, but that's their politics. And I don't really care about their politics."
State Republicans did not escape his wrath either.
"I think the Republicans in New York should rise up and speak with one voice," said Cuomo. "[Rep.] Peter King, I applaud his leadership. Where is the chairman of the Republican party, Mr. Cox? Where is Senator Skelos?"
Shortly after Cuomo mentioned Senate majority leader Dean Skelos, Zachary Hutchins, the social media director for the State Senate, tweeted out a statement from Skelos, which Hutchins said was issued before Cuomo's remarks.
In it, Skelos said, "The failure of Congress to act on the federal assistance legislation to help the millions of people impacted by Hurricane Sandy is absolutely unconscionable."
On an unrelated topic, Cuomo also fielded a series of questions about gun control.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, there's been a renewed call for tighter gun regulations in Albany, and even some talk that Cuomo would call a special session of the legislature to consider new gun laws.
That's not going to happen.
"We don't have an agreement, so I don't have any plan to bring them back," said Cuomo.
Asked about microstamping of guns, Cuomo said, "I think it's highly improbable at this point that you would get agreement on it."
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