By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile voted for the $50.7 billion emergency aid package for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which hit New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and other states in the Northeast. Congressman Mo Brooks voted against the package.
Representative Bonner said, “I supported this disaster aid after the House largely stripped the extra spending and unrelated policy provisions that had been placed there by the U.S. Senate. Along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we are, unfortunately, all too familiar with the unpredictable wrath of Mother Nature – most recently through hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. We, too, have relied upon the federal government to help rebuild our communities, and it is likely we will be looking to Uncle Sam for help in the future. Whether along the Gulf coast or the Atlantic coast, we are all Americans and we must be willing to help each other in time of disaster.”
Congressman Mo Brooks (R) from Huntsville proposed funding the Sandy aid by diverting money presently used for foreign aid. Rep. Brooks said, “We could spend $531 million dollars on Tanzania, $368 million on Zambia, $652 million on Kenya, $625 million on Nigeria, or perhaps as much as $2 billion in New Castle County, Sussex County, Kent County, and other damaged areas in Delaware. We could spend $180 million in Indonesia, $142 million for the Philippines, $107 million in Vietnam, $85 million in the Republic of Georgia, or we could shift those kinds of sums to Atlantic City, Hoboken, and other places in New Jersey.” Rep. Brooks’ amendment was rejected by the House Rules Committee.
The Hurricane Sandy aid package passed although 179 Republicans and one Democrat voted against the bill because they felt there was still too much pork in the bill and no spending cuts in other areas to pay for the legislation.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) said that the vote was, “A little delayed, a little late to the party, but if you’re coming with $60 billion, you can be a little late.” Gov. Christie said the aid will help New Jersey begin rebuilding in earnest after the late October superstorm, but he cautioned residents that the progress will be slow. “There simply isn’t enough time between now and the Fourth of July, say, to get everything done, for everybody’s homes to be rebuilt, for every business to be up and running again, for all the beaches to be replenished. What we’re hoping to do for this coming summer is to make the Jersey Shore functional and livable again.” Hurrican Sandy was the worst natural disaster in New Jersey’s history. It caused $36.9 billion in damage and rebuilding costs. Governor Christie said that he hopes that the Jersey Shore will be largely rebuilt by 2014.