As Twitchy reported, the House GOP was already taking a public relations beating over the fiscal cliff debacle when it decided to pull a vote on the Senate’s Sandy relief bill. Conservatives begged the GOP to do itself a favor and publicize the ridiculous amount of non-Sandy-related pork in the bill, while at the same time Republican Gov. Chris Christie excoriated the House GOP’s actions as “disappointing and disgusting.”

With the PR damage already done, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have announced two upcoming votes on Sandy relief, the first one taking place Friday.

The $9 billion package which goes to the floor Friday is intended strictly for the National Flood Insurance Program — in other words, actual Sandy relief. Boehner and Cantor released the following statement this afternoon:

Getting critical aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy should be the first priority in the new Congress, and that was reaffirmed today with members of the New York and New Jersey delegations. The House will vote Friday to direct needed resources to the National Flood Insurance Program. And on January 15th, the first full legislative day of the 113th Congress, the House will consider the remaining supplemental request for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The second vote, scheduled for Jan. 15, will be to allocate an additional $51 billion. Of course, the headlines will read that the House has delayed a vote on relief even further.

Yep. Even after promising an almost-certain yes vote on $9 billion in aid, the GOP is already being tarred as denying relief. Which media outlet will be first to claim, “House GOP votes to deny Sandy victims $51 billion in aid”?

Like Christie, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) was quick to blast Boehner over the Sandy vote, but he seems placated now, and in fact says Boehner has his vote for Speaker tomorrow.

Is it a surprise to anyone that Republicans in the House are being saddled with the blame for a delay in Superstorm Sandy relief? Not at all. But we’d be pleasantly surprised if the GOP were to step up its PR game and demand that Sandy relief money go toward Sandy relief, and let the public know it.