Long Island's own fighting Irishman

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Don’t all come and thank me. Thank King for being a true leader and pressing the speaker to do what’s right. After the constant pressure, Boehner was forced to act. Last Friday, the House passed a $9.7 billion bill to cover flood insurance claims. Boehner promised New York and New Jersey lawmakers that the rest of the $60 billion in aid would be voted on Jan. 15.

Still, 67 members did not support the bill, and many claimed that they refused to vote immediately on the larger bill because it was filled with pork amendments, such as $600 million for the EPA to support climate change issues, $348 million for the National Park Service to plant trees, and $150 million for Alaskan fisheries, all items that have nothing to do with Sandy relief.

This is no time for political games — the people need relief now.

Many of the members who voted no were from states that received billions of dollars in aid after Hurricane Katrina. Since when do we give geographic preference to those in need?

It has been over 2½ months since Sandy wreaked her havoc. Many of the people who were affected by the storm were average, working, middle-class families. These are people who wake up every morning, go to work and pay their taxes without complaining, and now they need help.

There’s still a lot of work to be done on the final bill. Between now and Jan. 15, I hope the dissenters think long and hard about supporting their friends in the Northeast. As Peter King said, when these representatives are looking to raise money for their campaigns, they find New York very easily.

I feel confident that Congress will pass the bill for a full $60.4 billion in federal aid next week. I trust that King will lead the charge.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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