New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox said Wednesday Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is “playing partisan politics instead of getting the job done” when it comes to a federal aid package in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
[Updates with Dems' response below]
Cox said he was particularly upset that Democrat Cuomo said at a news conference New York Republicans should “rise up and speak with one voice” in criticism of a the GOP-led Congress’ decision to adjourn on New Year’s Day without approving a Sandy aid package. Cox said Cuomo “wants Republicans fighting amongst themselves.”
Cox said that while congressional Republicans were working to deliver an aid package, Cuomo “is saying call out everyone and give them hell till it gets done, instead of working behind the scenes to get the job done. That’s him playing to his [Democratic] base.”
“If the governor understood how a legislature works,” Cox continued, “he would understand all he is doing is throwing kerosene on a potential fire.”
Cox stood in contrast to Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) who said he felt “stabbed in the back” by House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) decision late last night to abandon a vote on a $60 billion aid package for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, leaving the issue of storm recovery money in limbo more than two months after Sandy hit. Even some other state Republicans said Congress had “turned its back” on New York.
And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, issued a joint statement with Cuomo, saying: "The people of our states can no long afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games." [Update: Later, Christie in a news conference bashed Boehner's "irresponsible" inaction and said House Republicans were "so consumed with their own politics that they’ve forgotten that they have a job to do.”]
Cox said he too was upset at the last-minute decision to table the issue. But he said that Cuomo “made a mistake on this issue” and finger-pointing might hurt New York in the long run.
“How can it help?” Cox said. Cuomo "wants us crying out in unison about what Boehner did. That does not get the job done.”
UPDATE: Democrat state Chairman Rodney Capel fired back late Wednesday in a statement headlined: "Ed Cox to NY: Drop Dead." Capel said that Cox was "completely alone" among New York Republicans in his critique and added, in part:
"Ed Cox hs once again shown that his true commitment is to mindless partisan fighting, rather than helping New York recover ... Mr Cox's defending of the inaction by Congress is anti-New York and he has put his political allegiance to the people of the state."