New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie attacked House Republicans for failing to pass the $60.4 billion Sandy relief bill despite glaring special interest spending and opposition from his own party.
While House Republicans were planning to announce two bills related to Sandy relief that would try to avoid pork spending, Gov. Christie held a press conference to blame the GOP, and particularly Speaker John Boehner, for showing a “callous indifference” to the citizens of New Jersey.
Christie has been undercut by fellow conservatives who noted that the Sandy bill passed by the Senate is poorly targeted to help victims of Sandy. Sens. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.) have pointed out that according to the Congressional Budget Office, 36 percent of the $60.4 billion would be spent after nearly two years. This was corroborated by the CBO, which claims that $9 billion would be spent in the first nine months with only $30.2 billion being spent by the end of 2015.
The Senate’s Sandy relief bill includes billions in spending well outside of the damaged areas and for purposes not confined to disaster relief.
FEMA would receive nearly $11.5 billion, unrelated to Sandy, for its Disaster Relief Fund. $3 million of the $11.5 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund would be directed to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General for audits and investigations.
The Federal Highway Administration would also receive $921 million unrelated to Sandy. AMTRAK would receive $336 million without any stipulations or plans for how the money would be spent.
The bill is loaded will smaller giveaways beyond the large payouts to federal agencies.
NASA would receive $15 million for its facilities despite NASA itself calling the hurricane damage ‘minimal.’ $150 million would be spent on fisheries as far away from the relief zone as Alaska. The Department of Agriculture would receive $125 million to combat wildfires and drought. Smithsonian museums would receive $2 million to repair damaged roofs. $12.9 billion of the $60.4 bill has been set aside for future disaster mitigation activities and studies.