Sandy was the injury. What the House of Representatives did this week was the insult.

Congress ended its 2012 session Wednesday without approving an aid package for victims of Sandy.

This was the latest demonstration of incompetence in a very bad week for Congress.

The entire nation got a lesson in just how inept our lawmakers have become when they started the new year by pushing the country over the fiscal cliff and then clawing back to its edge.

The cliff itself was a congressional construct, a self-made emergency of business left undone. While a late-night House vote saved middle-class families from a tax increase, it only kicked the financial crisis down the road a couple of months.

As we said in July 2011, when congressional bickering held up Federal Aviation Administration funding and caused thousands of federal employees to be furloughed for nearly two weeks - including 640 at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township - anyone else who did a job this badly would be fired.

But as embarrassing as the grandstanding over the fiscal cliff was, at least you can argue it was based on political differences concerning the size and proper role of government.

The decision by House Speaker John Boehner to delay the Sandy aid package is another matter.

The Senate approved a $60.4 billion aid package in late December that would have provided grants for homeowners and businesses and money to fund improvements to better prepare hospitals, transportation systems and the electrical grid for future storms.

By ending its session without voting on the measure, the House effectively killed the Senate bill. And aid that families in New Jersey, New York and other parts of the Northeast are counting on to rebuild their homes and their lives was unnecessarily delayed.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who represents parts of Long Island that were decimated by Sandy, called Boehner's decision not to take up the aid bill "indefensible."

"We have never had a natural disaster before where Congress walked away," he said.

Indeed, when Hurricane Katrina struck the Louisiana coast, it took Congress only two weeks to approve a $62 billion aid appropriation. Including subsequent bills, federal Katrina aid eventually totaled more than $100 billion.

In that disaster, Congress also quickly amended tax laws to remove certain limits for property owners taking a casualty-loss deduction.

But more than two full months after Sandy, New Jersey storm victims continue to wait for the same casualty-loss provision and for a federal aid bill.

In a joint statement Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called the House action, "a dereliction of duty."

Late Wednesday, Boehner reportedly scheduled a vote on $9 billion in immediate aid on Friday, with a vote on the balance no sooner than Jan. 15.

Some would say better late than never. We say House leaders should still be ashamed.