Paul Waldman, American Prospect: Texas Republicans beyond hypocritical on disaster relief

Tabitha Dunn
September 3, 2017

It has been painful to hear the master of polarizing, incendiary rhetoric babble on about non-partisanship unity amid the Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts.

However, one Long Islander, while also offering support to those suffering under Hurricane Harvey's wrath, is using the opportunity to settle an old score as well; Congressman Peter King (R-Seaford) took to Twitter this weekend, declaring that he would indeed vote in favor of a proposed disaster financial aid package for Texas, but also fired a salvo at Texas Senator Ted Cruz for voting against a similar aid request for NY and New Jersey in 2012 when it was needed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy's passing.

But Cruz and Cornyn were among 36 Republican senators who voted against the January 2013 supplemental disaster aid bill for Sandy victims.

Well, five years is a long time, but not too long to go back and check on the internets.

The Washington Post fact-checked his assertion that the bill was "two-thirds" pork, and they found that Cruz's assertion just wasn't true.

Nearly two-thirds of the funds in the bill were not due to be spent immediately, though that isn't what Cruz said.

"But I think it's important for all of you to know that Speaker Ryan has called", she added. "Puts it down. Lies".

President Donald Trump speaks during a tour of the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center in Austin Texas U.S
Paul Waldman, American Prospect: Texas Republicans beyond hypocritical on disaster relief

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey (and to quote Stevie Ray Vaughan), "there's flooding down in Texas, all the telephone lines are down". Cruz was the most outspoken about it saying, "two-thirds of the bill had nothing to do with Sandy". And a simple fact is that Sandy bill was over $50 billion and 70 percent of it was nonemergency.

He did not say how he would secure the emergency funding for Texas and Louisiana. Yet Cruz was willing to hold up aid that Sandy-affected states, including New Jersey, desperately needed.

He said: 'He was playing politics to make himself try to look like the most conservative guy in town'. 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.

Cruz, Republican Texas Sen.

Earlier versions of the bill called for billions of dollars in other expenses, but those were rooted out of the legislation by the time it passed in 2013 with a 62-36 Senate vote. Many Republicans opposed the full $51 billion aid package, which included a $34 billion amendment by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., that included grants for housing and other repairs patterned after the Katrina response. And White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who will be responsible for preparing any disaster request for President Donald Trump, opposed a 2013 Sandy aid package as a SC congressman, offering a plan to cut elsewhere in the budget to pay for it.

After his "no" vote, Cruz released a statement, saying in part, "Hurricane Sandy inflicted devastating damage on the East Coast, and Congress appropriately responded with hurricane relief".

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