The House of Representatives approved a $9.7 billion aid bill for Hurricane Sandy victims on Jan. 4, but the remaining $51 billion in aid approved by the Senate is not scheduled for a vote in the House until Jan. 15. And one politician is saying that the only reason the Senate approved the bill in the first place as it is written is because some senators were allowed to steal money from Sandy victims.
According to NYC councilman Dan Halloran in a Fox News interview on Friday, several politicians in the Senate would only support the Sandy aid bill if their vote was bought.
Halloran said that "pork" loaded into the $60 billion aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims appeased these politicians enough to support it. But it will cost the American taxpayer and rob Sandy victims if the bill is passed on Jan. 15 as it currently reads.
"Pork" is a term used to describe unnecessary spending allocations found in bills in Congress.
One piece of "pork" required in order to get the signature of Senators on the Sandy aid bill was the demand that the roof on the Smithsonian Institute in DC be paid for by the money in the emergency aid bill. That piece of pork will cost Sandy victims and taxpayers $2 million.
And that, according to Halloran, is what is so wrong with Congress, as the Smithsonian expenditure and many other pet projects tacked onto the Senate Sandy aid bill will not be helping Sandy victims at all.
You're talking about roughly $24 billion of which has absolutely nothing to do with hurricane relief," the NYC councilman said.
As Sandy victims continue to need relief from their losses, it appears some politicians used the crisis to further their own states' agendas economically. And that has caused conservatives in the House to come under fire because they refused to rubber stamp the Senate bill version.
However, on Jan. 4, the House Republicans passed the $9.7 billion aid bill that would ensure Sandy homeowners' claims would be paid, and paid promptly. The Senate passed the bill as well, and Pres. Obama agreed to sign it into law.
The "fiscal cliff" crisis is far from averted and Republicans contend that if emergency aid is to be voted on and approved on a larger scale for Sandy victims, then it needs to be money to be spent for those suffering in New Jersey and New York due to Hurricane Sandy, rather than money spent on certain members of Congress who have pet projects they want to fund.
Halloran said that another example of this pet project funding from the emergency aid bill is that fisheries in Alaska and Michigan would receive $150 million if the Senate bill is approved.
Another $59 million of Sandy aid money would go to forest restoration--on private land. And that means a private land owner would be getting $59 billion in aid at the expense of victims in New Jersey and New York (and taxpayers) if the House bows to the Senate bill and passes it on Jan. 15.
The NYC councilman says that those are just a few of the items that would rob Sandy victims of one third of the amount of money the government would have given them if Senators, not House representatives, had not demanded their "pork" share of it in order to agree to pass the bill.
The House passed the $9.7 billion bill on Friday without any pork requirements.