Was Hurricane Sandy Relief A Casualty Of The “Fiscal Cliff” Deal?
Somewhat lost in the shuffle last night was a disastrous response to a disaster:
The fiscal cliff may have been averted Tuesday, but the next political fight was waiting in the wings and exploded just minutes later when House Speaker John Boehner announced he’d postpone a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill until the 113th Congress was sworn in…
Democratic leaders were blindsided by Boehner’s decision to punt the $60 billion relief bill until the 113th Congress.
The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support in December and was slated to get to the floor and easily pass before the clock ran out on the 112th Congress.
Democrats were not the only ones blindsided.
“This has been a betrayal of trust,” says GOP Rep. Peter King of New York. “We were told at every stage that this was definitely going on. It is inexcusable. It is wrong. It is unprecedented in this country for the United States Congress to walk away from a natural disaster.”…
House leaders did not provide an explanation as to why the vote was canceled, but assured members the issue would be handled later in January.
A likely explanation is that postponing the bill was in response to the “fiscal cliff” vote. House Republicans were already divided and spending another $60 billion may have been too much to ask yesterday given a somewhat surprising insurgent campaign from Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity against the Sandy Relief Bill:
President Obama’s requested $60.4 billion federal relief aid package purported to assist the rebuilding effort post-Hurricane Sandy is now being opposed by Americans for Prosperity’s national organization. The pro-taxpayer group confirmed today that it will be key voting the proposal which it considers a wasteful and fiscally irresponsible expenditure of taxpayer dollars…
Steve Lonegan, state director of the AFP’s New Jersey chapter, has led the charge against the plan. Lonegan has called the $60.4 billion aid request “ridiculous” while pointing out that the price tag “amounted to nearly $4,200 for every man, woman and child in the state.”…
“Politicians are salivating over the concept of having $60.4 billion to fund everything in sight,” said Lonegan.
Yes, how dare those elected representatives consider ways to use taxpayer money to help taxpayers suffering a natural disaster.
Ladies and gentlemen, Compassionate Conservatism.