Washington, DC--Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) demanded the House Republican leadership schedule a vote immediately to provide badly-needed assistance to the millions of people affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Rep. Engel called the decision by House leadership not to allow a vote for the relief “shameful” and appropriate for this “do-nothing Congress” to end by doing nothing.   The Senate already passed a measure providing $60 billion to the affected areas.  The relief bill will need to start over when the new Congress is sworn in on Thursday.

“We have until noon tomorrow to pass the Senate bill to help those devastated by Sandy, or to pass new legislation and ask the Senate to pass it by acclamation.  There is still time to help families recover, businesses rebound and municipalities to avoid potential bankruptcy.  It is just compounding the disaster to withhold aid for no reason.  If Republican leadership can’t do that, then I do not understand how they can look at themselves in the mirror.

“Should nothing happen before the 113th Congress is sworn in at noon tomorrow, we need to vote immediately with the new Congress all in the room and ready to go.  There is a very important vote scheduled for Speaker – the next vote needs to be for the millions of Americans who have been suffering since the hurricane.  The current Republican leadership has shown a disturbing lack of leadership on this issue and needs to do what is right.  Our state has always been ready to help when disaster strikes others – and I am sure the rest of the country is ready to act to help us.  Why the Speaker doesn’t understand this is completely baffling to me.”