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Public Statements

Hurricane Sandy Relief

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PALLONE. Let me thank Mr. King, my colleague from New York, for his remarks. I really appreciate what he said--that this is not a Republican or Democratic issue. It shouldn't be politicized. Natural disasters and responding to them are what I've seen over my 25 years in Congress, and they are what bring us together to try to help people. The Speaker should not use this opportunity to tear us apart.

I was here last night when we got the word through Congressman King that the Speaker was going to pull this bill. And what the message said was, Well, we can do this in January. We'll do it sometime later in January in the new Congress.

As Congressman King said, we can't wait. My district was devastated by this storm. I would ask of Speaker Boehner, come to Sea Bright, New Jersey. Drive through Sea Bright, New Jersey. It's a town that has less than 2,000 people. The business district is totally destroyed. One or two stores have reopened; the rest are still closed. Most of the people still have not been able to return to the town.

Go to Union Beach in New Jersey, also in my district, where you can see that now everything is exposed. We still have people that do not have a place to stay, that are looking for an apartment or staying in motels or looking for a trailer to be placed next to their home and still don't have it.

We need to rebuild now. We need to act now. We can't wait for the next Congress or another couple of weeks or another couple of months.

What I don't understand, Mr. Speaker, is how is it possible that this has become a political issue? It is clear that we're here today. We can vote on this. The votes are clearly there. We should have an open debate. That's what democracy is all about. And all of a sudden, because the Tea Party or some conservative element is worried that they have to vote on another spending bill, all of a sudden the Speaker says, well, we can't do this today. This is politicizing a situation that should not be political. It is another example of what I call the ``do-nothing'' Congress.

This Congress did very little. It had fewer bills passed than in anybody's memory. Rather than go out on this negative note about not bringing up an emergency because of a hurricane, a devastating natural disaster, why not do something positive on a bipartisan basis, Mr. Speaker. Bring this up. Let us have an open debate. We're still here. Don't let this Congress die on this negative note. Let it build on a positive note, so when we come in and we're sworn in on Thursday, we can show that we can work on a bipartisan basis.

I have never seen anything like it. To me, it is just deplorable.

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