GOP Rep.: Hurricane Sandy relief ‘reminds me of the stimulus package’

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, January 4, 2013 10:51 EDT
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Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS). Photo: U.S. House of Representatives.
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Appearing Thursday on the fringe right-wing American Family Association talk show “Focal Points,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) announced that he is “not convinced” that funding for Hurricane Sandy relief is really needed, saying the disaster recovery bill “reminds me of the stimulus package.”

“It certainly is loaded up with pork. I am not convinced yet, based on the numbers we have heard — again, it’s hard to get ‘em out of the administration. My understanding, [the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)] which would be spending the money, has billions of dollars right now. They can’t spend it all quick enough and for some reason this administration and Republicans in the House and Senate decided we’re gonna start spending more money. They can’t spend it quick enough. It kinda reminds me of the stimulus package.”

He added: “Again, if you have $10-20 billion sitting cash on hand and you can’t get it spent, why exactly is the first action of this Congress have to be a 60 billion spending bill that, again, we don’t have the money for, Brian.”

Unfortunately for the people affected by Hurricane Sandy, Rep. Huelskamp is woefully wrong about how much money FEMA has on hand. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told members of the House in early December that Sandy recovery efforts will more than wipe out the agency’s remaining $4.9 billion. The state of New York alone has requested $42 billion for relief efforts, according to The New York Post. That sum rises to $83 billion when New Jersey and Connecticut’s relief requests are included.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) opted not to take a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief earlier this week amid an acrimonious debate on tax rates, triggering a torrent of anger from east coast Republicans like New York Rep. Peter King and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

After a day of unrelenting criticism in the media, Boehner relented and promised to schedule votes later this month on two separate bills totaling about $60 billion.

This video is from the American Family Association’s “Focal Point,” published to YouTube on Thursday, January 3, 2013 by Right Wing Watch.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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