The Senate passed a pork-laden Sandy Relief bill:
Hurricane Sandy relief bill “pork” complaints is reportedly a sticking point fiscally conservative lawmakers. The $27 billion relief legislation crafted to offer Super Storm Sandy disaster aid will reportedly be stalled until after the Congressional session, which ends on Wednesday, resumes.
Republican Representative Darrell Issa had this to say about the spending initiatives in the Hurricane Sandy relief bill:
“Your two senators packed this with pork. They had the opportunity to have a $27 to $30 billion dollar legit relief packages, packed it with pork, then dared us not to vote for it.”
Representative Issa was referring to New York Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. Some of the disputed items in the Super Storm Sandy disaster aid bill include a $150 million in funding for Alaskan fisheries. The bill would also have reportedly increased spending to the national flood insurance program, which is expected to max out its borrowing limit next week. If the flood insurance program cannot borrow more money, it will reportedly only be able to pay 12,000 of the estimated 139,000 of the Hurricane Sandy related claims, according to The Atlantic Wire.
The Bennington Banner notes multiple “pet projects” which have caused angst among Republican lawmakers who likely want to help Hurricane Sandy victims. Some of the disputed hurricane relief bill pork measures in $336 million in Amtrak expenses and $2 million in taxpayer funds to repair a room on one of the Smithsonian buildings in Washington D.C.
The publication also reports that the Super Storm Sandy relief legislation also includes $8 million to purchase new vehicles for federal agencies. A total of $4 million for repairs to the Kennedy Space Center were also added to the disaster relief bill.
True to form, the House managed to take a good thing — stripping out the pork — and turn it into a PR disaster:
@drewmtips Well, who was the GOP out front-and-center over the last two weeks explaining what you just said (re: the pork)?
— Lee Doren (@LDoren) January 2, 2013