- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Watchdog sees pork in Sandy relief bill
Christie fights for $51B in aid
Question of the Day
As Congress takes up the second slice of relief money for Superstorm Sandy, the influential Club for Growth said Monday it will seek to punish the lawmakers who support the $51 billion package because it includes wasteful spending and pork that have nothing to do with reconstruction efforts in the Northeast.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, meanwhile, continued to ramp up pressure on Congress to pass the relief package, saying that the proposal before Congress “simply isn’t” a pork bill, and that he has been assured that the GOP-controlled House will handle the Sandy relief legislation in a similar fashion to how Congress handled federal assistance for victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast, the tornado that slammed Joplin, Mo., and floods in Iowa.
“We don’t expect anything more than that, but will not accept anything less,” Mr. Christie said, after touring recovery efforts in Bradley Beach, N.J. “If they want to make new rules about disasters, well they picked the wrong state to make the new rules with, and we are going to continue to fight as hard as we need to.”
The dueling messages underscore the divisions within Republicans ranks over the relief package — a $17 billion bill and $34 billion amendment —- that the House is expected to vote on this week.
But Mr. Christie, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and other elected leaders from the Northeast — and both sides of the political aisle — have been waiting on Congress to approve more emergency funding and harshly criticized the delay.
The funding was expected to be voted on two weeks ago, but House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, changed gears and pulled a proposal after Republican lawmakers raised questions about some of the spending that was unrelated to the relief efforts.
Still, the Club for Growth and other budget watchdogs, such as Taxpayers for Common Sense, say the $51 billion package that Congress is expected to consider this week also includes millions of dollars for Amtrak upgrades, FBI salaries and road projects in states not affected by the storm.
As a result, there are some questions about whether there is enough Republican support in the House to approve the new spending.
In a letter to lawmakers on Monday, Andy Roth, the Club for Growth’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.
“These voters will be included in the Club for Growth’s 2013 congressional scorecard,” said Mr. Roth, 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.”
Mr. Christie, though, said the original proposal that passed out of the Senate has been “stripped down to be a clean Sandy bill.”
“Yeah, there was some extra spending that was put in there, in the Senate bill, but the House has stripped that out,” he said. “So, all these folks on TV that are yapping about it’s a pork bill — it simply isn’t.”
Ahead of the expected vote Tuesday, the House on Monday voted 403 to 0 to pass a proposal that aims to streamline disaster aid, speeding up the way in which FEMA distributes funds.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Chris Christie faces flak on New Hampshire campaign foray
- Chris Christie sidesteps Bridgegate, again tops Republican presidential field
- Democrats may win at fundraising but still lose to GOP at polls
- Impeachment talks revving up Democratic base: DCCC
- Boehner says impeachment talk is Democratic fundraising ploy
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- ON THE RUN: Competition for Redskins backup running back is heating up
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors