The Republican governor who took on right-wing bigots that questioned the patriotism of a Muslim judge he named to high state court is now facing down the Tea Party darling in the House GOP leadership who is threatening to make federal disaster relief a budget debate issue.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned House GOP Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia today not to hold hostage the states' need for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid money to another brutal budget battle like the country endured with the market-tanking debt ceiling negotiations.
"You want to figure out budget cuts, that’s fine," Christie said, appearing with members of the state’s congressional delegation, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
"You’re going to turn it into a fiasco like that debt-limit thing where you’re fighting with each other for eight or nine weeks and you expect the citizens of my state to wait? They’re not gonna wait, and I’m going to fight to make sure that they don’t," Christie said putting the Tea Party-driven House on notice that its slash and gut politics will not be tolerated.
"I don’t want to hear about the fact that offsetting budget cuts have to come first before New Jersey citizens are taken care of," the boisterous New Jersey chief executive barked.
A tone-deaf Cantor sounded heartless when he mixed the suffering of Hurricane-turn-storm Irene victims with his hard-core no taxing the rich budget policy. Cantor made the comment while hundreds of thousands people were without power, many were trapped (and still are) and billions of dollars worth of property was destroyed. Irene killed at least 40 people in 11 states.
Christie also said he welcomed the news that President Obama will be visiting New Jersey this weekend. Vermont remains a disaster area that would likely be disrupted by a visit from Obama this soon after Irene left the state in turmoil.