The House today overwhelmingly passed a bill providing $9.7 billion in flood insurance aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. All 67 votes against the aid came from Republicans, including Florida Reps. Ron DeSantis and Ted Yoho, both whom were sworn in yesterday.
All other Florida reps. joined the majority.
"I sympathize with the victims of Hurricane Sandy and believe that those who purchased flood insurance should have their claims paid. At the same time, allowing the program to increase its debt by another $9.7 billion with no plan to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere is not fiscally responsible," DeSantis said in a statement.
"Congress should not authorize billions in new borrowing without offsetting expenditures in other areas. If a family maxes out its credit cards and faces the need for new spending, it is forced to prioritize by reducing its spending in other areas. Here, Congress has failed even to attempt to identify reductions in nonessential spending. This 'put it on the credit card mentality' is part of the reason we find ourselves nearly $17 trillion in debt. Indeed, the Senate passed legislation that went in the opposite direction by stuffing a bill designed to aid storm victims on the northeast corridor with money for such extraneous matters as fisheries in Alaska. The storm occurred more than two months ago and it is sad that Congress has not used that time to find room in the budget for needed disaster relief."
The Club for Growth was urging members to vote no. "As we have said in a previous key vote alert, the proper way to address disaster relief is to 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."
The bill goes now to the Senate. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio already voted against a larger version of the aid package.
UPDATE: It passed the Senate by voice voice. Rubio's office said he supported the "clean" funding package. The bigger version, which will come up for a vote later this month in the House, has items critics describe as political pork.