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First Sandy Disaster Relief Bill Sent to President

The people of New Orleans, in that area, they were hurt, but nothing in comparison to whats happened to the people in New England. Almost a million people have lost their homes, Reid said.

Some of the harshest criticism of the House leaderships delay on Sandy aid came from within the GOP. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Peter T. King of New York led the attacks on the speaker for not bringing the Senate aid package, which passed that chamber 62-32 on Dec. 28, to the House floor.

Im saying anyone from New York and New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds, King told Fox News on Wednesday morning. He called Boehners decision to let the 112th Congress end without House action on a disaster relief package a disgrace and immoral.

But House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the Senate-passed bill would have been taken up by the House if it did not direct too much money and resources to districts outside the area affected by the storm.

The pork we will not vote on today is in fact the pork that was in this bill from the Senate. I hope we will negotiate a clean bill that only deals with the men and women and families on the Eastern Seaboard that need to be taken care of, Issa said.

The conservative group Club for Growth highlighted the House-passed bill (HR 41) as a key vote and, in a blog post Friday, urged all members to vote no.

Congress should not allow the federal government to be involved in the flood insurance industry in the first place, let alone expand the national flood insurance programs authority, the post said.

Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., voted against the bill.

I agree with my colleagues that we must help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, he said in a written statement Friday. We should meet all of their needs as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, Washingtons legislative response fails on both counts. It refuses to distinguish or even prioritize disaster relief over pork-barrel spending.

In the statement, Ryan added that it would be irresponsible to raise an insolvent programs debt ceiling without making the necessary reforms, referring to the flood insurance programs troubled financial history.

Schumer retorted at the afternoon press conference that to hold homeowners who desperately need this money and have paid in this money as hostage to reform, thats unconscionable.

Boehner and Cantor announced Wednesday that the House will vote on the $50 billion remainder of the Obama administrations disaster relief request on Jan. 15.

Kerry Young and Annie Shuppy contributed to this report.

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