In a statement released today, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) criticized the amount of pork in the Disaster Relief Act of 2013, which was designed to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Cruz said the bill was full of wasteful spending that will not be used to help victims.
Republicans had been criticized by Democrats for not supporting the bill, and the GOP countered that too much pork had been added to the bill. Cruz pointed out in his statement that only 30% on the bill's funding would be spent immediately (within the next 20 months) on the needs of Sandy victims. He also cited several examples of spending projects in the bill totally unrelated to the Hurricane Sandy destruction.
The entire statement follows:
Hurricane Sandy inflicted devastating damage on the East Coast, and Congress appropriately responded with hurricane relief. Unfortunately, cynical politicians in Washington could not resist loading up this relief bill with billions in new spending utterly unrelated to Sandy.
Emergency relief for the families who are suffering from this natural disaster should not be used as a Christmas tree for billions in unrelated spending, including projects such as Smithsonian repairs, upgrades to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplanes, and more funding for Head Start.
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.
The bill had already passed the House, and despite Republican opposition and several amendment attempts to cut some of the wasteful spending, the full bill passed the Senate vote today 62-36. It now goes to President Obama to be signed.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SIGN UP or SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this page.
Source: Press release, Senate office of Ted Cruz