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Helderman reports: "The House on Tuesday approved about $50 billion in relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The package was adopted on a 241 to 180 vote, on the strength of support from Democrats, as well as 49 Republicans."

Robert and Laura Connolly survey the damage of Sandy. (photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)
Robert and Laura Connolly survey the damage of Sandy. (photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)

179 House Republicans Vote Against Sandy Aid

By Rosalind S. Helderman, The Washington Post

16 January 13


he House on Tuesday approved about $50 billion in relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, a package designed to speed aid to devastated communities in New York and New Jersey and a vote that provided an early test of the resolve of GOP deficit hawks.

The package was adopted on a 241 to 180 vote, on the strength of support from Democrats, as well as 49 Republicans, many of them representing communities hit hard by the Oct. 29 storm.

It overcame a tough challenge from fiscal conservatives who believed the emergency spending should be offset with spending cuts in other parts of the federal budget to avoid adding to the federal debt.

Most Republicans - 179 in all - opposed the final package, an outcome that would have once been unthinkable in the GOP-led chamber. But it was the second vote in recent weeks to pass with a majority of Democratic votes.

Most Republicans also opposed the tax deal that concluded the "fiscal-cliff" package this month. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) allowed both votes to proceed knowing they would likely be adopted mostly through the work of Democrats.

A majority of Republicans also supported a failed amendment that would have offset a large chunk of the spending with other budget cuts. The move was fended off by the same coalition of Democrats and a smaller number of Republicans who feared it would derail the bill in the Senate.

But Boehner needed to get past the Sandy issue. He earned a stinging rebuke from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) this month and designed a complicated legislative pathway to ensure its passage despite muted Republican support.

First, the House agreed to an underlying bill that contained $17 billion intended to cover immediate relief needs, including $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency fund that funnels aid directly to individuals and local communities to rebuild. The measure passed on a 327 to 91 vote.

Then, on a 228 to 192 vote, the House tacked on $33.6 billion in additional money to cover a longer-term effort to rebuild.

Splitting the bill into two pieces allowed Republicans who wanted to provide immediate help to be able to withhold their votes from the long-term effort; only 38 Republicans backed adding the longer-term dollars.

Supporters say all of the money is desperately needed - Christie and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) have requested nearly $80 billion in federal aid.

Together, the $50 billion, along with $9.7 billion for flood relief approved by the House this month, would equal a package passed in December on a bipartisan basis in the Senate.

Backers had feared changes to the package could disrupt passage in the Senate. "We don't want to find ourselves with a bill the Senate can't take, and we'll have to Ping-Pong around here for a few months," said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.). "It's important that we get this done and get it done quickly."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said late Tuesday that the House bill, while not as good as Senate's product, was "close enough" and he would urge colleagues to pass it speedily.

To appease conservatives, House leaders allowed votes on a dozen amendments - chosen from among more than 90 proposed by members - many of which would slice out spending projects that some conservatives consider not directly related to storm relief. Most were unsuccessful.

That included a key amendment proposed by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and backed by the conservative Club for Growth that would have offset the $17 billion underlying measure by cutting 1.63 percent from every federal agency, including the military.

Traditionally, storm relief is considered emergency spending, much like money to fund wars, and appropriated quickly by Congress on top of other spending priorities. But some fiscal conservatives have expressed exasperation with that notion. The total $60 billion relief package is larger than the budgets of many states. It also would swallow up more than half of the spending cuts set to take effect next month as part of the hard-fought sequester process, which was designed to begin denting the federal deficit.

"We're spending money we don't have. We just have to control our spending," said Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.), explaining why conservatives sought offsetting cuts.

But Mulvaney's proposal fell on a 258 to 162 vote after House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) appealed to colleagues that the across-the-board offsetting cut would cause indiscriminate damage to federal programs. He noted that the cut would total more than the size of the entire Agriculture Department.

"At times, the spending of federal dollars is indeed necessary," he said. "Natural disasters hit unexpectedly and sometimes require a response that we cannot foresee."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and former GOP vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were among the 157 Republicans who voted for the failed amendment. your social media marketing partner


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-39 # MidwestTom 2013-01-16 10:27
I feel sorry for these people, but $299 from every man, women and child in this country is a but much. What happened to insurance coverage for houses? I do not that they should be allowed to rebuild along the shore, unless they sign a contract that they will nat accept government aid if this happens again, and it will.
+34 # kelly 2013-01-16 11:40
Do you really live in the "midwest"? Does your insurance have a caveat that says "if you build in a tornado prone area you can't accept government assistance? What would happen in Joplin or even St. Louis or OKC or, oh I don't know just about any place you can name out there. What a ridiculous thing to say.
+15 # overanddone 2013-01-16 12:02
I'm searching for those contracts in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, so far no luck. I don't seem to find much in the way wavers in the areas of the country often subjected to tornadoes, like in the mid west, Tom.
When wind velocity exceeds certain limits insurance companies are off the hook, flood insurance covers foundation and roof damage only, that does not rebuild a house, thats builds more like a pavilion.
I'll be checking to see how many of the nay votes signed a wavier/pledge that their state would not ask for federal assistance should disaster visit their district.
+10 # SusanT136 2013-01-16 13:10
Quoting MidwestTom:
What happened to insurance coverage for houses? I do not that they should be allowed to rebuild along the shore, unless they sign a contract that they will nat accept government aid if this happens again, and it will.

Sandy was a "once in a 100 years" event for NY/NJ. Areas that had not been flooded EVER since records were being kept got flooded. Many of the communities that suffered are not wealthy communities, they are working class or middle class.

But with climate change those "once in a 100 years storms" are something that's happening more and more.

I agree it doesn't make sense to allow people to build - especially expensive homes - right on the ocean in an area that is prone to hurricanes, or at least they must be required to carry full private insurance. If private companies won't insure that area, building homes there shouldn't be allowed. Have the govt buy it back and turn it into public beaches or parks.
+8 # Anarchist 23 2013-01-16 14:42
A good idea in and of itself, but where are the people supposed to go? Where are they supposed to relocate? What about homes elsewhere? Could they afford it? We need to approach the global warming problem collectively with regard for each other. But we won't. It's YOYO 'You're On Your Own' Let's see what happens to all the flooded out people in MS,TN AL etc.
+11 # MainStreetMentor 2013-01-16 14:51
If anyone living in the geographic areas devestated by Sandy - and any of those persons voted RepubTeacan at any time in the last four years - how do you like these 179 RepubTeacans you may have voted for, now? Not only do they figuratvely "stab you in the back", they stomp you when you fall. You really should consider changing your political alliances.
+32 # BradFromSalem 2013-01-16 10:33
If its money they don't have, then gout and f-----g get the money. There are two ways to get the money, raise taxes or authorize the fed to print it. Either way you are creating wealth since we have the resources to utilize that money.

Money is created all the time, why can't it be used to get things done instead of enriching bankers?
+13 # ABen 2013-01-16 11:25
Rational, compassionate conservatives-- an endangered species!
+16 # kelly 2013-01-16 11:36
It's a travesty. The one democrat who voted against it was from a state that had been ravaged by tornados. That is ridiculous. The "pork" in this bill amounts to less than 300m; probably as clean a bill as Congress ever produced. Who do these clowns think they're playing to?
+16 # Regina 2013-01-16 11:41
These Republicans are converted Dixiecrats still singing their 1860-5 anthem, jest a-whistlin' Dixie. Who "won" ye olde Civil War? Their tantrum over the election and -- gasp! -- reelection of a Black president is nastier than ever. Imagine bein' asked to provide relief money for that damn-Yankee enclave up No'th! Of course, Katrina was diffrunt, on home turf.
+21 # giraffee2012 2013-01-16 11:48
Those reps who voted against relief are Red Southern states --- and mostly baggers.
If baggers are so self sufficient, why do red states get more in federal dollars than they pay in? Why do they take the lions's share of federal disaster aid? Why do they take billions in federal farm subsidies? Why do their primitive economies suck on federal military contracts for their survival?

I can't for an answer because and beside I have a low tolerance for ignorance.
The people who elect these freaks are ... (rest of sentence eliminated bc apparently these people cannot help themselves!)
+13 # Rich Austin 2013-01-16 12:06
Midwest Tom

Who buys flood insurance in an area that hasn't seen a flood in 5o years? Rather than fire unmanned drones at innocents, the government should be doing what it can to responsibly protect communitiues against natural disasters.

Also, much of the money will be used to rebuild community infrastructure. How do you insure a light pole, or a road, etc., etc., etc.?

I live in a state that contributes more to our federal coffers than it receives in return. That is also true of NY and NJ. Would you have us apportion federal aid on a per capita basis? If that were to happen some midwest and every southern state except Florida would suffer. Lord knows what would happen to farmers if crop subsidies were meted out accoding to state populations.

We're all supposed to be in this together. Money should go to those in need.
+15 # reiverpacific 2013-01-16 12:19
So put those who voted "NO" out to work manually in the sludge and shit -or at least take a mandatory field trip to the devastated area so they can get their shiny shoes dirty and earn their salaries for a change, instead of blocking any attempts at humanitarian aid and progressive taxation.
I'd like to see them tell the residents of the area to their faces why they voted against aid.
They'll enthusiasticall y fund the military monster and Israeli aggression but do nothing but bitch about helping out their own citizens.
+6 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-01-16 12:37
"...once been unthinkable..." - just about says it all re. sooooo, sooooo much in today's U.S. of (greed and power) A.(ddiction).

Not a whimper out of the Bushwhackeing and Kochsucking villainaire rulers (and their politician clown minions) when endless money is spent on endless wars, all at the expense of we the sheeple via taxes, and all immense profits from the evil war, war, wars for oil, oil, oil going in to you know whose pockets.

Be it North, South, East or West, we the sheeple of either or any or no political bent have to take off the damned blinders (no easy job, what with karlroving MSDing - manipulating, spinning, distracting - also in endless mode.

Lots and lots we've gotta do to.....

-19 # keepinitreal 2013-01-16 13:09
When will people be responsible for their own actions, build in a flood zone and then expect someone to help you rebuild? Huh? Also how much pork was in that bill? ALLLLLLOTTTTTTT ! pretty one sided artical!
+10 # overanddone 2013-01-16 13:24
Choose to be a farmer, expect to loose everything in years of drought or flood.
Choose to drill for oil assume all the responsibility for a dry hole on your and your share holders own nickle.
On mans pork is another mans bacon, the bill was as clean as anything past in the last 2 sessions of congress. Detail what you think in the bill was pork.
+10 # kelly 2013-01-16 14:46
Around 123m for the Amtrack stuff and something over 50m for the roads and infrastructure. About 3m for fixing the roof on the Smithsonian and then some other stuff none of it adding up to any more than 300m like I said before. In a bill of approx. 50b. That's how much pork. Since you asked questions:
why is it difficult to make the decision to help someone out? People like Ryan and Cantor seem eager to prop up the military and kill people but are much less willing to look here in the good ole USA and keep our own citizens alive.
+1 # reiverpacific 2013-01-17 15:34
Quoting keepinitreal:
When will people be responsible for their own actions, build in a flood zone and then expect someone to help you rebuild? Huh? Also how much pork was in that bill? ALLLLLLOTTTTTTT! pretty one sided artical!

You write of what you know not -and sel-righteously at that.
Most of these homes were built before FEMA (Now under the umbrella of Homeland in-Security thanks to Dimwits) flood zones -or sesmic zoning, or climate change flooding, or inundation maps- were ever heard of. They just fancied being by the shore or an estuary.
Even if they had flood insurance (now mandatory where I live on the west coast) how many of them can come up with the 33.33% co-payment insisted on by the providers -as many found in the most recent 'quake in the Bay Area.
This storm acted in a way never seen before and took a sharp inland turn as it hit a blast of cold air coming from Canada, catching many of the at-the-ready rescue departments off guard as the weather service monitored it's progress.
And the density of the areas just adds to the rebuilding and rezoning problems.
So how does THAT combination of eventualities and events make these poor buggers responsible?
If that's your idea of "keepinitreal", I suggest you "keepittoyourse lf" or get better informed.
+5 # Art947 2013-01-16 17:19
Ryan and Cantor have been on the public dole all their lives. (Think how much money Ryan and his siblings received due to the early passing of his father. This was paid by the Social Security System that he is so willing to destroy!) It is interesting that Cantor also probably has no problem with providing "pork" to his legislative district. Even if it is religious prohibited for a Jew!
+1 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-01-18 19:37
These are the same people who voted to spend unlimited (trillions) on an illegal war in Iraq, but don't want to help our own. Shame on these Kochsuckers.

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