Staten Island residents were left fuming Tuesday after a vote on $60 billion in federal Sandy relief money was put on hold by House Speaker John Boehner.
“It’s freezing at night. The kids, they’re getting sick, I took my little ones to the hospital and this is just unbelievable,” said Sanah Joseph, a mother of three. “Until today’s date we do not have heat.”
Just a bit further down Father Capodanno Drive, Lina Michelov, who is barely getting by with her child’s belongings in garbage bags, was deflated and disappointed. “It’s very upsetting, because we were really counting on it, we really were.”
Anthony Gatti, an Army National Guard vet, first moved into his family’s home 32 years ago but after Sandy he has been sleeping in a tent until last week. He is angry and afraid of looters but he’s also furious at the Feds for not stepping up.
“It makes me feel like they don’t care about us, like we’re nothing. We’re people here. What’s that over your shoulder there, over your house? That’s my American flag I hung up;” Gatti said. “I spent 8 years in the military and I serve my country . . . I guess (the politicians) have their own agendas.”
For hardworking families it was especially bitter news considering that past hurricanes like Isaac, Gustav, and Katrina not only received quick and swift emergency aid but also assistance from strike crews and first responders from the Tri-State area.
After cancelling the vote, Boehner was blasted by fellow Republicans, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent (storm) victims – the House majority and the speaker, John Boehner,” Christie said at a news conference. “It is why the American people hate Congress,” he added.
High-ranking Republican Peter King, who represents Long Island, called Boehner’s decision, “a knife in the back.”