During Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, host Chris Cuomo showed off his New York grudge as he trashed Texas Senator Ted Cruz for his previous opposition to the pork-laden Sandy relief bill of 2012. “Conservative lawmakers, both Texas senators and every Texas Republican but one, ultimately voted against the bill,” Cuomo noted, insinuating that the shoe was on the other foot in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
In a recent interview with MSNBC, Cruz defended his vote on the bloated Sandy relief bill, explaining that “the problem with that particular bill, it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two-thirds of the bill had nothing to do with Sandy.”
You could feel Cuomo’s disdain for the Texan as he exclaimed: “Problem? That's not true!”
“The Washington Post gave Cruz three Pinocchio’s,” he spat, eager to prove Cruz wrong. “You want a second source? Go to the report by the Congressional Research Service, okay? You'll see it all laid out there, virtually all of the money was earmarked for Sandy-related damage, up and down the coast.”
Completely contrary to his point, Cuomo did admit that there were billions of dollars in the bill that weren’t at all related to Superstorm Sandy. But he defended it anyway, claiming that “regardless if you take all of this funding: One, it was related to disaster relief.”
“And even if you want to say, yeah, but it wasn't related to Sandy, it's still nowhere close to two-thirds of the money that was in that bill,” Cuomo desperately argued. But he never gave a detailed breakdown of the entire cost or allocations in the bill, he only talked in generalities.
According to a report by the Heritage Foundation, over 60 percent of the bill’s cost was dubious. “Of Obama’s requested items, less than $23 billion of the $60.4 billion involves addressing emergency damages sustained by state and local governments, private-sector businesses, and individuals,” they wrote.
“As a point of perspective, with the vast majority of homes and businesses privately insured, the total cost estimate for the entire private industry is just more than $20 billion,” Heritage noted. “Why is the federal spending proposal three times as large?”
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And as history has taught us, it’s safe to be skeptical of what could be lurking inside a bill that’s supposed to help those in need. In another study by the Heritage Foundation, they found that:
Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, "Girls Gone Wild" videos, and at least one sex change operation.
Towards the end of Cuomo’s diatribe, he appeared to let it slip that his motive for trashing the Texas Senator may have had more to do with where he was from. “What do we see as political proof? New York Republican Peter King insists that he, quote, ‘won't abandon Texas’ in the aftermath of Harvey the way he felt was done to his state of New York,” he touted.
Cuomo Prime Time
August 29, 2017
9:16:13 PM Eastern
CHRIS CUOMO: Then again, the President does ask for relief money but it's congress that will authorize it. And hopefully, we're going to see proof of a lesson learned after Harvey. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Congress spent over three months debating a $50.5 billion package for federal aid.
Conservative lawmakers, both Texas senators and every Texas Republican but one, ultimately voted against the bill. Why? Well, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas said there was too much pork in the bill. Money unrelated to Sandy. Paul Ryan and others insisted the emergency spending be offset by budget cuts elsewhere. Now, Ryan's office has been shy about asking for offsets this time around, but Cruz doubled down on his claim this week saying “two-thirds of the money in that bill was unrelated to Sandy.” Take a listen.
TED CRUZ: The problem with that particular bill, it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two-thirds of the bill had nothing to do with Sandy.
CUOMO: Problem. That's not true! The Washington Post gave Cruz three Pinocchio’s. You want a second source? Go to the report by the Congressional Research Service, okay? You'll see it all laid out there, virtually all of the money was earmarked for Sandy-related damage, up and down the coast.
Some of the controversial things were repairs to the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Space Center that then-budget committee chairman Ryan, now speaker of the house, insisted were non-Sandy expenses but the runways at the Kennedy center were damaged and the roof of the museum was also damaged. Both by Sandy. You have to remember the storm ravaged the east coast. There were major disaster declarations in a dozen states.
Now, the bill did wrap in funding for other 2012 disasters including those declared at a number of fisheries across the country. As well as $16 billion that could be used for other disasters over three years, as well as a small amount of money for prevention.
But regardless, if you take all of this funding: One, it was related to disaster relief. And even if you want to say, yeah, but it wasn't related to Sandy, it's still nowhere close to two-thirds of the money that was in that bill. And you know who knows that's true? Ted Cruz. Because despite what he said, and all the support he's getting from the right, he changed his statement.
His office said it wasn't two-thirds of pork he was talking about, two-thirds of the money would be spent to slowly qualify as emergency relief. That's the new position. It's a better position, but you know what? It's not good enough. Why? Because according to the Congressional Budget Office, the timing of how the money would be spent, they based that on the projection of how it has been spent in the past.
There's a government reason for this and a practical one. Government does work slowly when you compare it to the private sector in certain regards. It's true. But it also takes many years to rebuild especially infrastructure. So that's what the CBO said about it.
What do we see as political proof? New York Republican Peter king insists that he, "Won't abandon Texas in the aftermath of Harvey the way he felt was done to his state of New York. So the facts are clear. The question is, will the politics be clear this time?