The House finally passed a relief bill to help fix the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy. PHOTO: AP
After getting utterly slammed by members of its own party, House Republicans overwhelmingly passed the first of at least two Sandy aid bills, which will assist people in regions devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The bill hands out $9.7 billion in aid money, still $50 billion short of the bill that the senate passed, but another Sandy relief bill is expected soon that addresses long-term projects. The Sandy aid bill passed easily, 354-67, but that still means that 67 House members, all Republicans, voted against it.
House Republicans, particulary Speaker John Boehner, ignited an explosion of anger from Republicans in New York and New Jersey when he did not take up the Senate's Sandy relief bill on the last day of the previous congress (yesterday), despite his promises to do so. Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie said "Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress. Disaster relief was something that you didn't play games with."
Republicans had just swallowed a hard pill with the fiscal cliff bill, and Boehner was not ready to serve them their next medicine, $60 billion for two liberal states. Republicans like Darrell Issa of California don't sound particularly gung-ho about the remaining $50 billion either, so the House may pass a reduced second Sandy aid package. "We need to get the pork out," said Issa.
The Sandy aid bill brings up the question that has been lingering over the Republican party ever since the Tea Party movement came to fruition in the 2010 elections: what will they spend on? 67 of them said that aid to Americans slammed by a hurricane doesn't pass the test. So what does?