Ted Cruz, Sandy and “Federal Aid For Me, Not For Thee”
At least 35 people — 14 in northern Mexico, 15 in Texas plus six in Oklahoma — have died in the severe weather, both tornadoes and flooding from raging rivers. Another nine people are missing. More rain is coming, with the National Weather Service noting a chance of storms for at least the next six days in Houston. Areas farther north, including Dallas, are expected to get 2 to 4 inches from Wednesday to Sunday. And parts of eastern Oklahoma will get drenched with 4 to 6 inches of rain.
During a press conference on the deadly flooding in Texas, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz said, “The federal government’s role, once the Governor declares a disaster area and makes a request, I am confident that the Texas congressional delegation, Sen. Cornyn and I, and the members of Congress both Republicans and Democrats will stand united as Texans in support of the federal government fulfilling its statutory obligations, and stepping in to respond to this natural disaster.” What could be wrong with that?
In 2013, Ted Cruz called federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy wasteful: “Two-thirds of this spending is not remotely ’emergency’; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021. This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – an addiction to spending money we do not have. 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.”
Not only was his claim about the aid false according to Politifact, but he actually didn’t name the recipients of the pork he was decrying. Probably because one of the recipients was himself.
“A big portion of the $17 billion in “immediate” assistance, more than $5 billion, went to replenish FEMA’s disaster relief fund, which may fund relief from future disasters.” PolitiFact also disagrees with some of the math Cruz repeated, “On Jan. 28, it passed H.R. 152, a separate $50.5 billion package. Of that $50.5 billion, $17 billion went toward immediate Sandy aid, while $33.5 billion was for “near- and long-term assistance and mitigation,” according to a Congressional Quarterly analysis.”
So the pork was not earmarked for Democrats in the Senate. A review of the states that are set to benefit from the Senate’s extra-special benevolence include Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. That would be the same group of Republicans who are now demanding federal disaster relief be immediately sent to their state.
Disaster relief is only vital when it is for Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz’s need is the only real need that counts. He should be forced to wait just like he made the people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately for him, the opposition cares for all Americans in need, allowing Texas a luxury that wasn’t offered to the victims of Sandy.