House Speaker John Boehner lost some love from his fellow Republican congressmen in New Jersey this week after delaying a $60 billion Sandy relief aid package. But he didn't lose their loyalty.
New Jersey's Republican congressmen unanimously voted to re-elect the speaker to his post Thursday. All Democrats voted for former House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"There were only two choices—John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi—and the congressman was not going to vote for Nancy Pelosi," said Jason Galanes, a spokesman for Frank LoBiondo, a Republican who represents much of South Jersey.
LoBiondo and Boehner had a widely reported heated exchange when the speaker informed the New York and New Jersey congressmen and women that the aid package had been shelved.
Galanes, however, said LoBiondo and Boehner got past their differences when the speaker promised to have a vote on the entire package—divided into two parts—within two weeks.
When asked if he considered not voting, or voting for somebody other than Boehner or Pelosi—as 21 members did—Galanes said: "Congressman LoBiondo was sent to Washington to vote. He doesn't believe in not voting."
Here is how the voting went down, by congressional district:
- 2nd — Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Atlantic, Cape May)
- 3rd — Rep. Jon Runyan (R-Ocean, Burlington)
- 4th — Rep. Chris Smith (R-Monmouth, Mercer)
- 5th — Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Sussex)
- 7th — Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon)
- 11th — Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Morris)
- 1st — Rob Andrews (D-Camden)
- 6th — Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-Middlesex, Monmouth)
- 8th — Rep. Albio Sires (D-Hudson)
- 9th — Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-Passaic)
- 10th — Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Essex)
- 12th — Rep. Rush Holt (D-Mercer, Somerset)
Boehner drew heat from Governor Christie and local representatives this week after putting off a vote on the aid package.
According to The Huffington Post:
Boehner had a heated exchange with LoBiondo, one of the members urging the House Republican leadership to bring up the Sandy legislation, according to fellow Rep. Peter King (R-NY). The House adjourned on Tuesday night without passing the $60.4 billion Sandy relief package that the Senate approved last week.
"I was chasing the speaker all over the House floor last night, trying to talk to him and his staff," King said on CNN on Wednesday morning. "He kept telling me, wait until the vote is over, wait until the fiscal cliff vote is over, everything will be taken care of. And then he was gone. He refused to meet with us. He actually yelled at Congressman LoBiondo, saying, 'I'm not meeting with you people.'"
According to The Huffington Post, Galanes confirmed that King's account was "accurate."
In an interview with Politicker NJ, LoBiondo said he had received assurances from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) that the Sandy bill would come up for a vote as soon as the fiscal cliff deal was voted on.
In a release, Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) said the move denies aid to "families, communities and businesses that were devastated by one of the worst storms to ever hit the United States.
“Denying emergency aid to Superstorm Sandy victims is a new low for House Republicans,” Lautenberg said.
Smith, a Republican who represents Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean County communities, told congressional members earlier this week that they "must get us to the $60 billion that is desperately needed to assist families, businesses and municipalities devastated by Superstorm Sandy."
"Numerous towns in my district in New Jersey, as well as our friends in New York and further north, are still coping with and recovering from the most destructive storm ever in our region—and perhaps the second or third most costly in American history," he said.
He also said Congress "assisted those pummeled by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with $62 billion in a mere two weeks... we are now past two months and still no Sandy relief bill."
"I respectfully appeal to my colleagues to come together and support this emergency legislation to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy," he said.