Fox News figures suggested that President Obama is to blame for the delay of emergency relief for victims of superstorm Sandy, but it was House Speaker John Boehner who delayed a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill in the House. Even congressional Republicans have blamed Boehner for the lack of action.
After the Senate passed a disaster aid bill for states affected by Sandy, the House was expected to vote Tuesday night on a similar, $60.4 billion aid package. But Boehner adjourned the House before scheduling a vote on the bill; Republican complaints that the bill was “loaded with spending on projects unrelated to storm damage” appeared to play a role in Boehner's decision.
On Fox & Friends on Thursday, co-host Steve Doocy led a segment about Sandy relief by noting that Obama is on vacation in Hawaii and added, “Meanwhile ... there are tens of thousands of people whose houses were destroyed by Sandy.” Doocy continued, “And it's interesting -- you go back 60 days, the president of the United States was out at a big photo op with Chris Christie, saying, 'I'm going to eliminate the red tape. I'm going to make sure that FEMA follows through.' And now 60 days later, nothing.”
After a montage of Obama speaking about cutting through red tape for Sandy aid was aired, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin said, “Well, golf clap for that Oscar-winning performance reel from Obama, paying lip service to the exigency and emergency and urgency of helping out Sandy victims. Aloha and mahalo, right?” Malkin later added, “I think it's ridiculous to fully blame Boehner for the gridlock that's happening over this bill.”
But Obama has urged Congress to pass a relief bill, and he responded to Boehner's delay of the vote by calling on Boehner to “bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.”
And Republicans have blamed Boehner, not Obama, for the delay of the House vote on Sandy relief. As CBS News reported, New York Republican Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm “fiercely decried the decision” to delay the vote, and King “suggested he might vote against Boehner in his bid to hold on to his speakership.”
Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey also “targeted Boehner's role in the process,” saying, “There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their speaker John Boehner. ... I called the speaker four times. He did not take my calls.”
The Fox & Friends segment also suggested that Boehner was right to delay a vote on the bill because it was “loaded up with a bunch of pork,” as Doocy said. On-screen text read:
But in repeatedly leveling the “pork” charge, Fox and other right-wing media have focused on provisions that comprise 0.3 percent of the total spending on the bill -- most of which would be allocated to states affected by other disasters.