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Cruz is right; Sandy relief bill was filled with political pork

As the tragedy and hardships of Hurricane Harvey continue to pour into Texas, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was asked to defend his 2012 vote against relief aid for Hurricane Sandy that tore into the eastern seaboard that same year.

By Clayton Felts

Cruz, who signed a letter in support for an immediate federal aid package for Harvey, was questioned about the difference in his support for relief this time by MSNBC’s Katy Tur.

Here is the exchange.

According to CBO, only 30 percent of the Sandy money was spent by September 2014 and 80 percent by September 2017. Additionally, according to a study by the Taxpayers for Common Sense and released by National Review, the bill included the following.

—$150 million for fishery disaster areas in Mississippi and Alaska
— $20,000 for a new car for the Inspector General of the Justice Department
— $10.8 billion for the Federal Transportation Administration; and cancellation of loans related to Hurricane Katrina
— $4 million for repairs at the Kennedy Space Center
— $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center
— $150 million for fisheries in Alaska damaged by a 2011 Japanese tsunami, which littered debris on Alaska’s shoreline
— $2 million to fix an (apparently quite expensive) roof at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
— $13 billion for future flood preparations (that is, money that was not spent on victims of Sandy but on preventing future, Sandy-scale disasters from occurring)

Is there anything lower than politicians playing political games with natural disasters and tragedies instead of doing what is right?  Senator Cruz was willing to help with relief aid to Sandy victims. That was not what the Sandy bill was about. As Cruz’s office stated after the vote, “this is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington — the United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.”

This all started after Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Monday that he would not “abandon Texas the way Ted Cruz did New York.” King, who was quoted during the 2016 campaign that “I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I’ll take cyanide if he even got the nomination,” is exactly what is wrong with those inside the Beltway.

Cruz did not abandon New York, he simply did not want to fund pet projects that were hiding behind disaster aid. Those in Texas, especially in Houston, are in real danger. As floods rise to historic levels, for Rep. King to play politics is ugly, nasty, and dangerous. We should support Cruz and stop politicians from either side of the aisle who try to take advantage of disasters like Hurricane Harvey. Not everything is political. As Cruz said, “right now the focus is helping people, not political sniping.”


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