The borough’s congressional delegation voted along party lines in a spending measure that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday that would have funded government services until Sept. 30 —the end of the federal government’s fiscal year.
The legislation was approved in the Republican-led House, 219-203, but the Democratic-led Senate turned down the same legislation, forcing the two sides to eventually come to a compromise.
Six Democrats crossed joined with 213 Republicans to pass the House version and 24 Republicans voted in opposition to the bill with 179 Democrats.
House Democrats voted against the bill because it cut funding to the Federal Emergency Management Association and curbed spending to the federal green jobs programs.
“I don’t support playing partisan games when what’s at stake is keeping the government running and providing assistance to Americans who are hurting after natural disasters,” said Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-East Elmhurst). “Unfortunately, House Republicans were willing to do exactly that — push through a bill that would have cost American jobs as a way of caring for those hurting after earthquakes, wildfires and hurricanes. Thankfully, the Senate rejected this proposal as well, and when Congress returns next week we will start working together in a constructive manner.
“New Yorkers and Americans across the country are hurting — they’ve lost jobs, been foreclosed upon and have seen their wealth diminish. They want a Congress that is working to put them first,” he said.
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) said Republicans “are the same people that don’t believe in environmental protection, so they want to do away with every piece of green legislation ... they’re looking to get a double hit from it.
“You’ve heard of the ‘do-nothing Congress’? This is the ‘undo-everything Congress,’” Ackerman said.
The borough’s five House Democrats all voted against the bill, with the lone vote coming from Rep. Bob Turner (R-Kew Gardens).
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Astoria), whose district includes a sliver of Queens, was not in the chamber to vote on the legislation.
Turner and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) could not be reached for comment.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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