Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The Lyin' Republicans of the Lone Star State
Texas senator Ted Cruz is squirming. Now that it's Houston that's underwater Ted is championing federal disaster relief. What has him squirming is that it was another devastating storm, Hurricane Sandy, that had every Congressional Republican in Texas vote against the relief bill.
Being highly-accomplished liars, Cruz & Co. are saying they voted against the bill because it was heavily larded with non disaster-related pork. It was those other evil congressmen and senators that shamelessly set out to exploit Sandy, that was the problem. All their fault.
Only, according to The Washington Post, Ted's tall tale is just so much convenient bullshit.
So was the $50 billion bill filled with pork — two-thirds of which was unrelated to Sandy?
The Congressional Research Service issued a comprehensive report on the provisions, and it’s clear that virtually all of it was related to the damage caused by Sandy. There may have been some pork in an earlier Senate version, but many of those items were removed before final passage. There were also some items that appear to have been misunderstood.
Ryan, for instance, referred in a statement to “non-Sandy expenses,” such as “sand dunes at the Kennedy Space Center, highway repairs in the Virgin Islands, and roof repairs in Washington, D.C.” But Sandy was a storm that stretched far beyond New Jersey and New York as it raced up from the Caribbean.
The Smithsonian Institution suffered roof leaks from heavy winds and torrential rain, resulting in a $2 million request. The shoreline near Launch Pads 39A and B at the Kennedy Space Center also suffered major erosion, leaving the ocean less than a quarter-mile away, so $15 million was added to deal with that problem and repair a NASA facility on Wallops Island in Virginia that also was damaged by Sandy. We couldn’t find a line-item for Virgin Islands highway funding, so it appears to have been relatively minor.
The bill did wrap in some other 2012 disaster funding, including disasters that had been declared over Alaska Chinook salmon, New England groundfish, Mississippi fisheries and American Samoa bottomfish. Those are the fisheries that the Cornyn spokesman referenced — but they were disaster declarations. So one would think it would make sense to include relief in a disaster bill.