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UPDATED: Gillibrand decries lack of Sandy action by House

New York's junior Democratic senator said a failure to pass the $60 billion Sandy relief package in the lame duck session of the House was a mistake.

“As many Republicans said on the House floor last night, what House leadership did last night by turning its back on families still suffering from Hurricane Sandy was indefensible and shameful," said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a statement. "Speaker [John] Boehner, [R-OH], should come to Staten Island and tell families trying to rebuild their businesses why they need to wait longer for help. He should come to the Rockaways and tell families trying to rebuild their homes why they need to wait longer for help."

She added that it was an insult not to bring the Senate's package up for a vote.

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonoko, D-Amsterdam, has previously called on the Republican House leaders to bring the relief package up for a vote.

The relief package passed by the Senate included about $47 billion for direct relief and $13 billion for future preventative measures. The $13 billion in funding has been criticized by House Republican leaders.

UPDATED, 11:40 a.m.: This morning Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo put out a joint statement lamenting the lack of action by the House.

"With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable. It has now been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit and 27 days since President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bi-partisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor. This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented. The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.

"The people of our states can no long afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games."

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