A Texas lawmaker got into a contentious back and forth with CNN host Victor Blackwell Saturday morning when he was forced to defend his decision to vote against aid for Hurricane Sandy survivors in light of asking for federal help for flood-ravaged Texas.
Speaking by phone with the CNN host, Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) made a pitch for billions in federal aid for Texas for what he termed, “The single largest flooding disaster in the United States history.”
Host Blackwell immediately brought up previous natural disasters saying, “Hurricane Sandy was $60 billion and Katrina was $120 billion just to give people a point of reference here. Let me ask you about your vote, which I’m sure you’ve discussed before, but I don’t want ask about your vote against the Superstorm Sandy package.”
“I want to ask you about an amendment. In 2013, you voted to tie the spending to an offset to a 1.63 percent discretionary spending across the board — spending to the $17 billion that was going to the people in New York and New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the people who needed it most,” Blackwell stated before asking why Weber was not asking the same for Texas.
“There a time to have that discussion, you are looking at September the 30th looming, that will remain to be seen,” Weber countered. “I’m not an appropriator, we will have that discussion with the appropriators, I certainly want to be on top of all of our spending. Do we need an offset? Any time you have an emergency in your own family, something comes up, you have to say, well I’m going to have to tighten the belt and do this and the other.”
“I’ll ask you again the direct question, you said that in 2013 through your vote that the $17 billion for the Sandy aid should be offset by the 1.63 percent across the board discretionary budget cut,” Blackwell pushed. “Do you think — or should in this case — there should be an offset for the people of Texas who now need billions of dollars?”
With Weber insisting that “Congress spends too much money,” but unwilling to say he would tie aid to an offset he added, ” If you want to call principle the fact that congress has to get on top of spending,” Blackwell pulled him up.
“Was it a principled vote,” Blackwell asked. ” Did you vote for an offset based on principles”?
“Define principles,” Weber shot back.
“That you believe that any additional emergency funds should be paid for and not borrowed from — or added to the deficit, let’s say that,” Blackwell attempted.
“Well, whenever possible,” Weber retorted. “But both you and I know there are times when it is not possible. We have to be extremely, extremely cautious and do everything we can to tighten our belt when we need to.”
You can watch the video below via CNN: