Obama speaks about the fiscal cliff Dec. 31 (Charles Dharapak/AP)
As politicians on Wednesday publicly blasted Congress' decision to delay funding for Superstorm Sandy relief, the president called on Republican House lawmakers to pass current relief legislation by the end of Wednesday.
"When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need," President Barack Obama said in a statement issued at midday Wednesday. "I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans."
According to the White House press pool, a White House senior administration official confirmed that the president—who returned to his Hawaii vacation—spoke to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday about the supplemental aid request.
Wednesday is the final day of the current session of Congress, meaning that current legislation to aid states devastated by the 2012 storm would die at the close of session and have to be rewritten to be introduced in the new Congress.
Read the president's complete statement below:
It has only been two months since Hurricane Sandy devastated communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as other eastern states. Our citizens are still trying to put their lives back together. Our states are still trying to rebuild vital infrastructure. And so, last month, working closely with the governors of the affected states, I sent Congress an urgent request to support their efforts to rebuild and recover. The Senate passed this request with bipartisan support. But the House of Representatives has refused to act, even as there are families and communities who still need our help to rebuild in the months and years ahead, and who also still need immediate support with the bulk of winter still in front of us.
When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need. I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.