House To Vote On Partial Sandy Relief Bill Friday

Most in the Legacy Media are referring to this as some sort of capitulation from John Boehner, instead of an understanding that the Senate porked up the Sandy bill

(US News) Cowing to bipartisan pressure, House Speaker John Boehner is bringing to the House floor Friday a measure to help fund recovery efforts for Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm that wreaked havoc in the Northeast, particularly ravaging New York and New Jersey.

Boehner had sought to delay passage of the $60 billion Senate-passed bill, which some in his party say is larded with unnecessary spending. But the speaker was pilloried by members of his own caucus–including a particularly scathing speech by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday–and promised to bring the spending measure to the floor in two steps: a vote Friday on a $9 billion infusion of cash to the National Flood Insurance Program and a vote January 15 on the remaining $51 billion proposal.

Christie and Peter King (R-NY) need to look within themselves, but, like many supposed fiscal conservatives, they abandon principles when they themselves want the money. Either of them could have said “pull the pork, give us a clean bill.” One NY politician took a principled stand. Too bad Christie and King didn’t.

Let’s look at a bit of that pork

The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.

An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.

Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

And

  • $58.8 million for forest restoration on private land.
  • $197 million “to… protect coastal ecosystems and habitat impacted by Hurricane Sandy.”
  • $10.78 billion for public transportation, most of which is allocated to future construction and improvements, not disaster relief.
  • $17 billion for wasteful Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), a program that has become notorious for its use as a backdoor earmark program.

And

  • $199 million in tax breaks for rum makers.
  • $188 million for upgrading, not repairing, Amtrak rail lines.
  • $57 million for tracking debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami.
  • $20 million for a national “water priorities” study.

So, almost half the bill is stuffed full of lard, which, yes, does have something to do with the effects of Sandy, but not in the NY/NJ area. Many of the projects were meant for Republican votes

Why, you might ask, would the Senate be packing billions of taxpayer dollars for these areas of the country that are nowhere near the devastation brought about by superstorm Sandy into a bill designed to bring relief to those suffering from the storm that ripped the northeastern part of the nation?

The answer can be found in a quick review of the states that are set to benefit from the Senate’s extra-special benevolence–states including Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.

The Senate bill was buying off Republicans, who voted for the bill. Now, it’s up to Boehner to strip the bill for the January 15th vote.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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