Rep. Peter King of New York on Friday cast Sen. Marco Rubio as a hypocrite for voting against the the Hurricane Sandy relief package and expressed disbelief that the Florida senator would then turn around and try to raise campaign money in the region.
Mr. King questioned how Mr. Rubio could vote against the $51 million in relief for New York and New Jersey when Florida has received loads of federal money for Hurricane victims.
“Guys like Marco Rubio of Florida, with all the money that you people have gotten in Florida over the years, with every hurricane that has come along, and this guy has the nerve to vote against money for New York and then come up here and try to raise money,” Mr. King said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That guy can forget it.”
“Any of those people who voted and postured against money coming to New York or New Jersey and then wants to come up here and take the money out of our pockets, forget it. They can stay home,” he said, before joking that he does not think that Mr. Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential contender, will ask him to be his running mate.
Mr. Rubio was one of a number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill to voice concern that the emergency funding included “pork” and wasteful spending.
“We do have a responsibility to make sure this emergency spending is ultimately going to disaster relief and not to other pet projects,” Mr. Rubio said at the time. “Unfortunately, the Hurricane Sandy supplemental bill goes far beyond emergency relief to impacted victims and communities, which is why I voted no on final passage.”
In response to the superstorm, Congress passed $9.7 billion in flood insurance money and another $50 billion for storm recovery costs.
The Senate approved the additional payments for insurance claims by voice vote in early January and then passed the larger disaster relief appropriations act on a 62 to 36 vote later that month.
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who is up for re-election in 2014, voted against the package, as did Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, two more possible 2016 hopeful.
Ten Senate Republicans, meanwhile, voted with Democrats in support of the funding — a group that included Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowki of Alaska and David Vitter of Louisiana.
Mr. King said Friday on Morning Joe that he will never forget or forgive Congress for waiting 100 days before approving emergency funding for Hurricane Sandy.
“My relationship with Congress will never be the same,” he said. “They made us wait 90 to 100 days to give us the most basic human aid required. It is absolutely disgraceful. … All I know is that the people were close to dying in my district, and no one gave a damn. That is something I will never forget,” he said.