HR 152, the $50.5 billion Sandy reconstruction aid package finally passed the US Senate.
It took 91 days to get to this point, which is absolutely incomprehensible and unforgivable.
We should be thankful that this has finally passed Congress, but it should never have taken three months to do so. That’s months more than any other major natural disaster to strike the nation in decades. It’s months more than the time it took to agree upon Katrina aid. The disaster response by this particular Congress is absolutely shameful.
That is, until you see that there are still dozens of Senators who voted against the aid package - not because they oppose the aid, but because they’d rather burnish their so called conservative credentials than do the job of governance.
36 Senators voted against this aid.
Not Voting - 2
None of these Republicans would ever tolerate the kinds of delays if it was to their districts. That makes them hypocrites on top of everything else.
Of particular note, you’ve got Senators from states affected by hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and earthquakes. They all opposed this aid package.
They have no problem making demands to secure aid for their home states when the need arises - and it arises quite frequently in places like Florida, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas (to name just a few). Hurricanes regularly hit the Gulf Coast and Florida, and yet Marco Rubio found reason to vote against this - and he’s claiming it is because why exactly? New York and New Jersey doesn’t deserve the aid? Because there weren’t offsetting cuts elsewhere? Because they’re burnishing their presidential ambitions (Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, I’m looking at you).
No Republicans have made such demands or permitted such demands when their own states were in dire need of disaster aid.
At a time when Sandy’s economic impacts lag behind only Hurricane Katrina in terms of monetary damage, these Republicans have have shown their complete and utter inability to govern and do what’s right for the nation.
After Katrina, Congress overwhelmingly approved a comparable sized reconstruction package within two weeks of the hurricane coming ashore. That package was $51.8 billion, and it was virtually unopposed (it passed 410-11 in the House and 97-0 in the Senate) and brought total aid for reconstruction up to $62.3 billion to that point. Not 90 days. Less than two weeks.
Among those who had no problem with the amount of money involved or the need to get aid flowing for Katrina, but then opposed Sandy aid:
Jeff Sessions; John McCain; Saxby Chambliss; Johnny Isakson; Mike Crapo; Chuck Grassley; Pat Roberts; Mitch McConnell; Richard Burr; James Inhofe; Tom Coburn; Lindsey Graham; John Thune; John Cornyn; Orrin Hatch; and Michael Enzi.
That’s 16 Senators who were present to vote for the 2005 legislation, but opposed the 2013 Sandy aid.