New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Wednesday blamed the “toxic internal politics” of House Republicans for failing to allow a vote on legislation that would have provided assistance to victims of Hurricane Sandy before adjourning last night.
During a press conference in Trenton, N.J., Christie directed his fury toward House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who shelved an expected vote late Tuesday on the Senate-backed relief package worth $60 billion.
Christie said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) called him at 11:20 p.m. ET following an 11th hour deal on the so-called fiscal cliff to inform him there would be no vote on the supplemental funds. After that call, Christie said he phoned Boehner four times. Boehner never returned the calls. Christie also added that he was never given an explanation for the canceled vote.
“Shame on Congress,” Christie said, accusing lawmakers of putting “politics ahead of their responsibilities.”
“Our people were played last night as a pawn,” Christie added. “Last night, my party was responsible for this.”
A Boehner aide told TPM that Sandy aid is the speaker’s “first priority” in the new Congress. In the meantime, Christie said, Boehner and his House Republican colleagues are to blame for the storm victims’ “continued suffering.”
Watch Christie’s press conference below:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com