NJ shore residents outraged over House inaction

January 2, 2013 8:23:19 PM PST
There is a huge backlash to the failure last night of the House Speaker to call for a vote on $60-billion in aid to victims of Sandy.

Toms River resident Anthony Vispisiano is steamed.

His elderly parents own a modest home in Seaside Heights where church volunteers from out-of-state are ripping out flood-ruined floors and walls.

He can't believe that with all the damage in Seaside Heights and in other shore towns, the House pulled the bill providing emergency relief to storm victims.

"They came down for the photo ops, they were all here Republicans and Democrats alike, and now where are they? They're gone," Vispisiano said.

Governor Chris Christie describes the lack of action by Congress as dereliction of duty.

"America deserves better than just another example of government forgetting who they are there to serve and why. 66 days and counting. Shame on you. Shame on Congress," Christie said at an afternoon press conference.

The mayor of Seaside Heights, Bill Akers, says the failure to approve the $60-billion in relief money creates uncertainty for residents and businesses struggling to recover

"If the pictures aren't doing it for them, then come here and look somebody in the eyes and tell them why you're not going to help them. Come here and see them," Mayor Akers said.

Displaced by the storm, Tracey and Tom Mianulli say Congress has left them in limbo.

They have federal flood insurance and applied for help from FEMA after their home near the bay in Seaside Park was flooded, but no relief bill means no guarantee they'll get money for repairs.

"I can't even explain it; I just want to get back home and there's just no way we can do it without the help," Tom Mianulli said.

Meanwhile, up and down the streets of Brigantine, the lights are out in many homes.

They are unlivable and reminders of the destruction of Sandy still litter the sidewalks.

Resident John Gizzio says the lawmakers "stink."

His dock is a mess; his fence is torn up and an adjuster estimated his damage at a $100,000.

"You know what they give you? Nothing," John Gizzio said.

"I think they can just consider us here on the water, we had a lot of damage, just see what they could do to help us," John's wife Patricia said.

Christie says House Speaker John Boehner refused to take four phone calls the governor made to him yesterday, but Christie did speak to Boehner Wednesday, along with President Barack Obama.

The speaker is now saying that Congress will begin voting on part of the relief package this Friday and all of it should be up for vote by January 15th.