MSNBC had Senator Ted Cruz as a guest, talking recent events in his home state of Texas in regards to Hurricane Harvey.
Cruz, who was quite active back in the Hurricane Sandy days, was now asked to shed light on this horrendous development as well.
“A final question, senator, I know you’re busy and I want to let you get back to doing everything you can out there,” MSNBC host Katy Tur noted. “But a lot of people are pointing out that you voted against aid for Sandy after that catastrophic storm up in the Northeast, that package back in 2012. They’re pointing at you and they’re pointing at you and saying, ‘You’re asking for money now when you weren’t willing to help the people in the Northeast.’ What do you have to say to them?” she asked.
“Well, look, there’s time for political sniping later,” Ted Cruz answered. “I think our focus needs to be on this crisis and this disaster…,” Tur cut him off.
“It’s not really political sniping, senator,” Tur added in protest. “These are people who needed money and who needed funding after this storm. I covered many of these people, many of them, just like in Houston, lost absolutely everything they owned.”
“Well, Katie, Katie, of course, that’s right,” Cruz replied. “And the accurate thing to say is that I, and a number of others, enthusiastically and emphatically supported hurricane relief for Sandy. Hurricane relief and disaster relief has been a vital federal role for a long, long time and it should continue.”
“The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy. And what I said then, and still believe now, is that it’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster and people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list. Disaster relief needs to be focused on the victims of disaster relief. And I supported that for Sandy, disaster relief there, and I would support that anywhere there’s a major disaster without getting distracted by political unnecessary pork spending.”
“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,” Cruz pointed out back in 2013.
The then-$60.4 billion spending budget was offered by former President Barack Obama.
Here is what the package consisted of, according to the official report:
The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.
Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.
Barack Obama’s relief package got the infamous nickname “Sandy Scam.” Now, with Hurricane Harvey on the line, a new relief bill is setting sail.