Mayor Bloomberg Criticizes Pork in Sandy Relief Package

(Photo: Getty)

(Photo: Getty)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who previously declined to slam House Speaker John Boehner over Congress’ stalled Hurricane Sandy aid, took his argument to the next level this morning and suggested federal lawmakers are partially to blame for the delay in the vote on the package because they insert “things that are totally extraneous” into bills such as this. Although Mr. Bloomberg didn’t specify the extraneous problem items, the legislation has been criticized by Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan for being “packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C.”

“There’s this ‘Christmas Tree effect’ where legislators put in their favorite bills and tack them onto something. The [Obama] administration does that, that’s why you have an omnibus bill–to force everybody to vote for things that would never stand up in the light of day if they were individual,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “I’m sympathetic. Yelling and screaming at [Mr. Boehner] is just not my style. It may be effective, it may not be. Everybody’s got to make their own decisions. I think the legislative leaders who criticize and those in the Legislature should stop and think, they do exactly the same thing in terms of ladling on things that are totally extraneous but it’s the only way they get them through.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s relatively subdued stance places him at odds with the overwhelming majority of the politicians in the New York region in recent days, with one exception in the form of Councilman Dan Halloran. But while name-checking several politicians, including Governors Andrew Cuomo and Christie Christie, as well as Congressman Pete King, who “worked hard” on the bill but have subsequently vented loudly at Mr. Boehner, Mr. Bloomberg reiterated that it’s simply not his “style.”

The mayor further expressed optimism that the bill would get done, as well as an understanding for why Mr. Boehner decided not to hold a vote on it earlier this week.

“Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor I’ve talked to thousands and thousands–it seems like thousands and thousands–of times, both assure me that the bills will come up. We believe there are the votes there to pass it,” he said. “It’ll have to go back to the Senate but the votes are there to pass it. It’ll come a few weeks later than I would have liked. But, you know, it’s easy to go criticize the guy. Running a legislature, as anyone that’s ever done it will tell you, it is not easy….It’s herding cats. They just passed a big tax bill with a lot of dissension about no spending cuts and I assume that the Speaker thought it was not a good time at that night to bring up a $60 billion bill….All that matters is that we get it done. And I think this will get done.”