The U.S. House of Representatives passed the first part of the Sandy relief bill for $9.7 billion with the second vote for remainder January 15. The vote passed 354-67. What’s interesting is that all the representatives voting against the bill are Republicans. It’s interesting that Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), whose district includes Biloxi, one of the most heavily damaged cities in the region by Hurricane Katrina, voted no for the Sandy relief to the northeast. You will recall Congress quickly passed an initial $10.5 billion relief package in the aftermath of Katrina in September 2005. It’s no surprise GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan voted against the relief aid as well.
GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan voted no. He released a statement explaining his vote and insisting that he’s “committed to quickly meeting the needs of the communities affected by the storm” but said there was too much pork in the package. “The Senate bill is packed with funding for unrelated items such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington D.C.,” he said. Um, one problem. None of those pork projects were in the flood insurance bill passed on Friday. So, this begs the question, did he really read the bill or was he beholden to another entity, such as the conservative “Club for Growth,” which vowed to punish any House members who voted for the flood insurance bill?
It’s also pretty hypocritical that, in addition to Steven Palazzo, there were other lawmakers who gladly voted for a similar measure in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when their districts were involved but decided to vote to help the people in the Northeast. Politicians like Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), Reps. Ted Yoho and Ron DeSantis (R-FL). Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) lobbied for emergency declaration for his state for flooding in 2011, while Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) readily voted for $50 billion in disaster aid after Hurricane Katrina and increasing the flood insurance pool by $2 billion in 2005. All these House Republicans voted no for assistance for New York and New Jersey. If this isn’t hypocrisy then I don’t know what else it.
Here’s a link to the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ): http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.41: It’s interesting that Scott Garrett was the sponsor of this bill, since he was one of 11 Republicans who voted against relief assistance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and he was the only New Jersey congressmen from either party who refused to sign a letter urging House leaders to provide prompt aid to Sandy victims, the Star-Ledger reports.
Here is a list of the 67 Republicans voting against the Sandy relief bill:
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