Governor Christie: Natural Disasters Don't Happen In Red States Or Blue States
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Published on Jan 2, 2013
Sandy Relief State House Press Conference in Trenton, NJ on 01-02-2013
"When Hurricane Andrew made landfall on August 24th 1992, Congress and President Bush 41 responded within thirty-one days with a federal aid package.
When Hurricane Gustav made landfall on September 1st 2008, and then Hurricane Ike hit twelve days later, Congress and President Bush 43 responded in seventeen days with a federal aid package.
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29th 2005, Congress and President Bush 43 responded with an initial $62.3 billion aid package in ten days.
Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on October 29th 2012, sixty-six days ago. In our state alone, 346,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Nearly seven million New Jerseyans were without power, some for up to fourteen days. Nearly 600 state roads were closed. 127 shelters housed and fed over 7,000 evacuated citizens. All regional mass transit and Hudson River crossings were closed. All New Jersey schools were closed, some for weeks. Tens of thousands of businesses were damaged or destroyed with many still closed. Our Jersey Shore was devastated, with the loss of homes, public buildings, and iconic symbols of New Jersey culture and economic vitality destroyed. Tens of thousands of our citizens entered 2013 unsure of their future, as they spent a holiday season displaced from all that was familiar and comforting. Thirty-one days for Andrew victims. Seventeen days for victims of Gustav and Ike. Ten days for victims of Katrina. For the victims of Sandy in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, it has been sixty-six days and the wait continues.
There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their Speaker, John Boehner. This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. National disasters happen in red states and blue states, and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors. We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans, or at least we did until last night. Last night, politics was placed before our oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.
On January 19th 2010 I took an oath to serve all the people of New Jersey, without regard to race or ethnicity, gender or political affiliation, and for the last 1,079 days I have worked as hard as I could to be loyal to that oath, whether under the pressure of dealing with a Legislature of the opposite party or the scrutiny of a hotly-contested election, I have always put the people of New Jersey and my oath ahead of petty personal politics.
Last night, the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state. If you want an example of how nonpartisan this issue should have been, I offer this for your consideration: near midnight last night, conservative congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, and former speaker Nancy Pelosi of California both spoke on the floor in concert with each other and in support of this aid package. It's one for the record books I suspect. On the equities, this should be a no-brainer for the House Republicans as well. Both New York and New Jersey used the international firm of McKinsey and Company to assess and quantify the damage to our states. Our professional staffs have spent countless hours with congressional staff, providing leadership and backup documentation for all of the damage claims. Governor Cuomo and I have spent hours and hours speaking to individual members of the House and Senate to answer their questions. We worked with President Obama and his administration and satisfied them of the urgent need of this $60 billion aid package. This was good enough for sixty-two United States senators of both parties to vote for this package. This was good enough for a majority of the House of Representatives. It overcame all the factual challenges. It just could not overcome the toxic internal politics of the House majority.
...In our hour of desperate need, we have been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina with no end in sight...
Despite my anger and disappointment, my hope is that the good people in Congress, and there are good people in Congress, will prevail upon their colleagues to finally, finally, put aside the politics and help our people. Now. That's the only hope we have left, is for the good people to prevail upon the others.
One thing I can assure the people of this region is this: Governor Cuomo and I will not stop fighting together to see that justice is done, and that our citizens' suffering is finally addressed by this Congress."
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