The Washington Times - January 14, 2013, 12:43PM

The Club for Growth, the influential anti-spending group, is calling on members of Congress to reject a relief package for the victims of Superstorm Sandy — warning that they will seek to punish lawmakers who support two proposals that together would set aside more than $50 billion for reconstruction efforts in the Northeast.

In a letter to lawmakers on Monday, Andy Roth, the club’s vice president of government affairs, said lawmakers should oppose the Sandy relief package — a $17 billion bill and $34 billion amendment — that Congress is expected to take up this week and said disaster relief legislation should be offset with spending cuts elsewhere and not larded up with what the groups calls pork projects.

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“These voters will be included in the Club for Growth’s 2013 congressional scorecard,” Mr. Roth said, explaining that the scorecard grades lawmakers on how well they support what the group deems as pro-growth, free-market policies.

“Congress shouldn’t keep passing massive ‘emergency’ relief bills that aren’t paid for, have little oversight, and are stuffed with pork,” Mr. Roth said. “Also, Congress shouldn’t use disasters like Hurricane Sandy as an excuse to spend billions on long-term projects that should be considered during the regular appropriations process.”

Earlier this month, Congress approved a $9 billion relief package to fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood insurance program.

But lawmakers failed to pass a broader emergency spending bill, thanks in part to millions of dollars included in the package that would not go to the areas in the Northeast hit by Sandy.

The $51 billion package that Congress is set to consider this week also includes billions of dollars for Amtrak upgrades, FBI salaries and road projects in states not affected by the storm.

Northeast lawmakers of both parties have harshly criticized the delay in approving the full Sandy relief package.