Monday, December 17, 2012

Conservative Group Tells Republicans To Hold Hurricane Sandy Relief Package Hostage

Club For Growth, a conservative advocacy group, is urging Republicans to vote against the $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package that the Senate plans to take up this week, according to a statement on its web site.

The group, which scores congressional votes to document lawmakers’ conservative stances, issued a “Key Vote Alert” this afternoon telling Republicans it would hold a vote in favor of the relief package against them. The statement also calls on lawmakers to offset any money spent for disaster relief with spending cuts:

The Club for Growth urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill (HR 1) scheduled for consideration in the upper chamber this week. The vote on final passage, and perhaps procedural votes, will be included in the Club’s 2012 Congressional Scorecard.

When a natural disaster occurs, there is a textbook response by Congress – they cobble together an overpriced bill that isn’t paid for, there’s no accountability or oversight, and it’s filled with pork. This proposal is no different.

If lawmakers are interested in improving the bill, they should release the funds in installments to make sure the resources are spent wisely. They should also strip out all immaterial line items, and fully offset all expenditures with spending cuts elsewhere. Serious reform would also include a way for the states to take over the responsibility for future disaster relief funding so that accountability is more localized.

Republicans have made a habit of holding disaster relief hostage to spending cuts in the aftermath of recent natural disasters, like the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri last spring and Hurricane Irene, which pummeled the East Coast last fall. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) also threatened to hold disaster relief hostage to spending cuts after an earthquake struck his home state, and Republicans reneged on their support of a deal to fund disaster relief last year.

Multiple Republicans have already indicated that they would not support the relief package without equal spending cuts from other programs.

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