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New York leaders, press for Sandy aid bill

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Albany/HV: New York leaders, press for Sandy aid bill
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After getting hit with a barrage of criticism for failing to vote on a Hurricane Sandy disaster aid bill, House republican leaders are now promising to take the measure up later this month. Our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups has more on the day's events.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Everybody played by the rules except tonight when the rug was pulled out from under us," said Long Island Representative Peter King.

To the surprise of New York lawmakers, late Tuesday night House Speaker John Boehner did not bring a Hurricane Sandy relief bill to the floor as promised. In response, lawmakers from affected states rushed the podium Wednesday morning, demanding action.

"Republican leadership has turned their backs on New Yorkers," Harrison Representative Nita Lowey said.

"Are New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians and Connecticut residents and New Jersey residents less Americans than the people that we aid in the Midwest in the south?" asked Manhattan Representative Jerrold Nadler.

Several Republicans are expressing concern over the level of pork projects in the Senate bill. And after passing the fiscal cliff deal, sources say passage of another spending plan was too heavy a lift. Still Republicans from the region were baffled.

King said, "We cannot believe that this cruel knife in the back was delivered to our region."

"There was a betrayal," Representative Michael Grimm said.

Long Island Congressman Peter King even demanded New Yorkers stop contributing to House Republicans.

"These people have no problem finding New York when it comes to raising money," said King.

After all the outcry, Republican leaders finally sat down with their members from New York and New Jersey. They say Speaker Boehner made a commitment the Sandy Aid bill would be voted on by January 15th, the first day of legislative business.

Grimm said, "Both of them shook my hand and gave me their word that this vote will go forward as planned and that they will be there for us."

On Friday, the House will vote on a $9 billion bill for emergency flood insurance. They will later vote on $51 billion strictly for Sandy recovery. Other unrelated provisions have been removed from the bills.

The delay in votes will have no immediate impact to New Yorkers, but with the new Congress being sworn in Thursday, it means the Senate will have to go through the whole process again.

Senator Charles Schumer said, "It wasn't easy passing a $60 billion bill in the Senate and now we're going to have to just, start from the beginning again."

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