- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Gov. Chris Christie blasted Sen. Ted Cruz Wednesday for claiming that the Superstorm Sandy relief package didn’t actually provide funding for the victims.

Sen Cruz’s accusation that two-thirds of the Sandy bill was pork is absolutely ridiculous. The Washington Post did a fact check on it yesterday. That is consistent with what I remember at the time. There was a Senate bill that had some of that that all got stripped out because all of us, including the people of New Jersey, objected to it,” Mr. Christie, New Jersey Republican, explained on Fox News.

“They were playing politics with it. They were all getting ready to do what they wanted to do in 2016 and make themselves seem like the most conservative person. The fact of the matter is there’s not a liberal or conservative way to deal with people that are drowning or dying,” he added.

In 2013, Mr. Cruz and fellow Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn voted against the Superstorm Sandy relief package for a number of extra items thrown in the bill. They initially supported the funding package prior to the additions. Sandy devastated much of the coastline of Mr. Christie’s home state in 2012.

“The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt,” Mr. Cruz said in a statement at the time.

But Mr. Cruz defended his decision on Wednesday saying that Mr. Christie is the one playing politics.

“I’m sorry that there are politicians who seem really desperate to get their name in the news and are saying whatever they need to do that. We have a crisis on the ground to help the people that are hurting right now. People who are in harm’s way, whose lives and families are in jeopardy as we speak. And I tell you my focus, and I wish the focus of others, would be on saving the lives that are being threatened,” Mr. Cruz said on Fox News.

“Facts matter and the simple fact is that Sandy bill was over $50 billion and 70 percent of it was non-emergency. Only 30 percent of the funding was emergency funding for the victims of Sandy,” he added.

Mr. Christie did have a lot of praise for former President Barack Obama’s handling of Sandy, saying he made himself available to the governor and his team.

“[Former President Barack Obama] handed me a piece of paper with a private phone number on it, and he said, ‘You call this any time, day or night, and you will get me,’ ” Mr. Christie said on MSNBC.

He added that Mr. Obama told his Cabinet members to make sure that calls from Mr. Christie or his office did not go unanswered, either

“[Mr. Obama] said, ‘If the governor or any of his people call, it is unacceptable for that call not to be returned within 30 minutes,’ ” Mr. Christie said.

The political back-and-forth comes as Texas tries to clean up in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey. President Trump has already signed a disaster relief proclamation that allows the state access to federal resources. The storm has now made a second landfall off the coast of Louisiana. It is expected to weaken as it continues north.

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