Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who called federal disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy victims wasteful is now demanding that the federal government fulfill its obligation and provide disaster relief to Texas.
During a press conference on the deadly flooding in Texas, 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.
Sen. Cruz sang a completely different tune in 2013 when he 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.
Cruz’s claim that the Sandy relief bill was wasteful was debunked by PolitiFact, “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.”
The great irony of the whole Sandy bill fiasco was that the pork came from Republicans like Cruz, who demanded to be paid off to support disaster relief. According to Forbes, “However, as it turns out, the pork portions of the Senate bill were not earmarked to benefit Democratic members of the upper chamber of Congress… The answer can be found in a quick review of the states that are set to benefit from the Senate’s extra-special benevolence—states including Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.”
That would be the same group of Texas Republicans who are now demanding federal disaster relief be immediately sent to their state. Hypocrisy and Ted Cruz are longtime companions, but the larger hypocrisy is bound to come from Republicans who will likely speed a disaster relief bill for Texas and Oklahoma through Congress.
Ted Cruz’s position is clear. Disaster relief is only vital when it is for his state. Red state need is the only real need that counts. Sen. Cruz is demanding disaster relief for Texas. If there were any justice, he would be forced to wait just like he made the people impacted by Hurricane Sandy suffer, but since Democrats have compassion for all Americans in need, Texas will be given a luxury that wasn’t offered to the victims of Sandy.