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Fury at Congress

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
January 2, 2013 4:33:37 PM PST
The anger is what's most palpable. And it's coming from people I don't expect to be angry.

It's not so much that taxes went up - although to be sure they didn't go up for as many people as they would have had the House voted against the fiscal cliff deal - it's that there were no cuts in spending.

There are many, many programs that are vital and that help people, and much of the budget is mandated spending. But the fact that this Congress allowed this situation to continue all year, and let it go down to the wire, has many people who don't usually get ticked off, ticked off.

And few can blame them.

Meanwhile, they didn't cut spending, but Congress also didn't increase it, at least for survivors of Hurricane Sandy. $60 billion was requested and pretty much guaranteed, and now Congress has ended its session without voting on the aid.

The reaction has been more than furious. Gov. Christie, Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg (he said he was "disappointed," so "furious" may not be as appropriate a description for hizzoner), and the few Republican Congressmen from our area, who are especially peeved. In fact, Peter King blasted his fellow Repubs, saying that folks in New York and New Jersey should stop contributing to out-of-town Republican Congressional campaigns.

This afternoon, the New York and New Jersey delegations met with House Speaker John Boehner about dropping the ball on Sandy aid. Or should we say soon-to-be-former House Speaker? Boehner voted for the fiscal cliff deal last night, but his fellow GOP'ers voted against it by about 2-to-1. Hard to imagine they'll vote him in as Speaker this week when the new session begins. I'm just sayin'.

The bottom line: Boehner, apparently not tone deaf, agreed to call for a vote on Sandy relief by Jan. 15. We'll see.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on both the fiscal cliff (the Tea Partiers and the Republican right will have the stage when they try to block the increase in the debt ceiling in 60 days), and the Sandy relief cliff. Jim Dolan is reporting from Washington, D.C. tonight.

And we're in Newtown, Connecticut, where tomorrow the survivors of the Sandy Hook school massacre return to the classroom - 7 miles away from the tragedy site.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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