A GOP storm over Harvey aid

03 September, 2017, 20:56 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • A GOP storm over Harvey aid

Facts do matter. And in this case, the facts are not on Cruz's side. It has been painful to hear the master of polarizing, incendiary rhetoric babble on about non-partisanship unity amid the Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts.

Sen. Ted Cruz didn't respond kindly to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's criticism of his decision to vote no on a relief bill for Hurricane Sandy in 2012. While some may argue that Cruz's comments and actions towards the citizens of NY - the same people he is now asking for assistance - have painted him in a very poor light, the fact remains that Hurricane Harvey is an epic disaster that is destroying lives and property, with some arguing that the situation calls for a sense of gravitas devoid of petty political squabbling.

Well, five years is a long time, but not too long to go back and check on the internets. Unfortunately, cynical politicians in Washington could not resist loading up this relief bill with billions in new spending utterly unrelated to Sandy.

"Of course, the federal government has a critical role in disaster relief", Cruz said on CNN. "He just said, 'Ted, what do you need? Puts it down. Lies". And this tweet about Ted Cruz and Hurricane Harvey highlights the hypocrisy at the core of his call for federal aid. Cruz is likely referring to the fact that more than 60 percent of the appropriations made in the bill would not be spent until the 2015-2022 period, as the Congressional Budget Office found - three years after Sandy touched down.

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"Senator Gillibrand will support funding to help Texas recover from Harvey, " said Whitney Mitchell Brennan, spokeswoman for Sen.

"Most of the people who couldn't bring themselves to vote during the Sandy thing, now the shoe's on the other foot", Cole said. If his same partisan politics were to be applied today, Republicans would again vote against the aid, since Houston votes overwhelmingly Democratic, as do other major Texas cities such as Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso. Cruz said he voted against the 2013 relief bill because it was loaded with pork. Sandy, an 1,100-mile-wide storm, had killed 233 people and ravaged several mid-Atlantic states before hitting New Jersey. So now that the imminent aid bill is headed to the people of Texas, both Cruz and Cornyn are eating their words and would, hopefully, suffer from their reactions in the past. "There was a Senate version of the bill that never passed that had a lot more spending". Seven other Houston-area representatives voted against the package.

Assuming the Republican members don't mind being called hypocrites, Congress should face little resistance in approving an aid package for Harvey victims. The urgency of Harvey relief money comes at an inopportune time especially for congressional Republicans, who are wrestling with their own conservative consciences over raising the debt ceiling and reaching a budget deal by September 30.

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