This morning Chris Christie called Ted Cruz a liar for suggesting the Sandy relief bill was laden with tons of pork, saying he should just admit he was wrong about the bill:
Chris Christie on "Morning Joe" raked Ted Cruz for saying 2/3 of Hurricane Sandy relief bill was pork. "He made it up" and "he knows it." pic.twitter.com/py9l2z8KAT— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) August 30, 2017
Christie said Cruz should just admit he made a mistake in voting against the Sandy relief bill and the people of NJ would understand. https://t.co/whtx03ASka— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) August 30, 2017
"The truly disgraceful part of what we just saw is that he's not telling the truth standing in a recovery center," Christie said of Ted Cruz https://t.co/whtx03ASka— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) August 30, 2017
Morning Joe cited in the video a Washington Post ‘fact check’ from yesterday that gives Cruz three pinocchios on his version of what happened.
WAPO cites a report by the Congressional Research Service in order to argue against Ted Cruz, but we should note that this report wasn’t published until two weeks after the bill had already been voted on and passed into law. Regardless of what we say about the bill now via this report, it wasn’t available to Cruz and/or other Republicans at the time.
But let me just point out, Cruz wasn’t the only one who voted against the bill despite these attacks targeting him alone.
The bill became law on January 29, 2013. Here’s a timeline of the votes that show a day before that, the bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 62 YEAs, 36 NAYs.
Here is who voted with Cruz and against that bill in the final vote. Note that even McConnell voted against it!
And that’s just in the Senate.
In the final passage of the House version of the bill, 179 Republicans voted against it with only 49 voting for it. Of course Peter King was one of the 49.
I should also note that many of these same Senate Republicans who voted against the bill were in favor of an amendment, sponsored by Mike Lee, to “offset the cost of the bill with rescissions and discretionary cap reductions.” But that amendment got voted down.
The same thing essentially happened in the House, as WAPO explains:
Many Republicans said that the emergency spending should have been offset by cuts elsewhere. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), at the time chairman of the Budget Committee, was one arguing the money needed to be offset. “This legislative abuse is an insult to families facing real emergencies in the wake of the storm,” he declared.
Many Republicans in the House voted for an alternative bill, crafted by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), now President Trump’s budget director, that would have funded a smaller emergency bill with a 1.63 percent across-the-board reduction in spending on discretionary programs. “It’s so important to me that I think we should pay for it,” he said. But his gambit was rejected.
Also, the WAPO does cite in an update that Cruz was referring to about 33 billion of the 50 billion in the bill:
Spokeswoman Catherine Frazier cited $33 billion in long-term spending, including the $16 billion in Community Development Block Grants for a range of disasters. She flagged $10.9 billion in Federal Transit Administration aid, but according to CRS half of that was directed toward Sandy response and recovery efforts. Beside many of the line items described above, she also cited $122 million for Amtrak, of which about a quarter was for repairs of the Manhattan terminal and the rest for recovery and resiliency projects in the affected area.
“When regions face serious disasters causing extensive damage, the federal government has an obligation to assist with assets to address the emergency,” Frazier said. “Sen. Cruz strongly supports this role of government, but emergency bills should not be used for non-emergency spending and that unfortunately is what made up nearly 70 percent of the $50.5 billion HR 152 bill.”
That’s exactly right. What Cruz is calling ‘pork’ is also known as ‘non-emergency spending’ and that’s why both House and Senate Republicans tried to get this money paid for in some fiscally responsible way, which mostly Democrats rejected.
I think Cruz and many other Republicans would have voted for the bill if it had only included emergency funding OR if the bloated 50 billion dollar bill had been offset responsibly.
So Cruz isn’t really wrong here and it’s ridiculous for people like Chris Christie and Peter King to target Cruz over a bill that most Republicans voted against.