N.Y. Democrat: Republicans who voted no on Sandy storm aid ‘mean-spirited’

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Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, said Saturday that some Republicans who voted against the Superstorm Sandy relief funds are “mean-spirited.”

The congressman, in an interview on MSNBC, joined a chorus of New York and New Jersey lawmakers who have sharply criticized House Republicans for the delays in approving a disaster relief bill.

“It may be some within the Republican Party who are so mean-spirited that they don’t want to move forward to help individuals who happen to be, maybe, some say, because they’re from the blue states.”

House Republicans on Friday passed a $9.7 billion relief bill after coming under intense fire earlier in the week — including from New York area lawmakers in their own party — for inaction on relief bills.

The bill passed on a 354-67 vote, with the only “no” votes coming from Republicans who argued that with the national debt now nearing a staggering $17 trillion, new spending — even emergency spending — should be offset by corresponding spending cuts.

The late October storm ravaged the coast from North Carolina to Maine, with the worst flooding occurring in New York City and its suburbs, Atlantic City, N.J., along the Connecticut coastline.

House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, has said he plans a vote on another $51 billion aid package later this month.

The government already has spent more than $2 billion as part of the emergency response to the storm.

Mr. Meeks, a Democrat who represents the hard-hit Rockaway Beach area, said there may be a bias against the New York area among some in Congress.

“It speaks for itself,” he said. “We’ve always, on the East Coast, put more than our fair share in the national treasury … that goes into some of these regions that when there’s a natural disaster, we willingly come together and say we’re going to support them.”

“All we’re saying is give the people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut the kind of resources they need so they can rebuild their lives.”

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