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Under pressure, Boehner is said to promise votes on hurricane Sandy relief (+ video)

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Mr. Obama, who left Washington Tuesday evening to join his family vacationing in Hawaii, issued a statement Wednesday saying, “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.”

Last week the Senate passed a $60.4 billion disaster assistance measure to help those affected by the late October superstorm, which killed 120 people and damaged or destroyed 651,000 homes in New York and New Jersey. The House had been expected to debate a similar measure on Wednesday before Boehner unexpectedly pulled the bill back Tuesday evening.

Boehner's decision surprised and angered politicians of both parties from the affected states.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, issued a joint statement Wednesday calling the House’s failure to act “inexcusable.”

“The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty,” the governors said.

Obama spoke Wednesday with Governor Christie about the Sandy supplemental request pending in the House "and the importance of its passage," an administration official said. The White House also said the president’s team has been in close contact with Governor Cuomo’s staff.

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