Pa. Goes 16-2 for Sandy Aid; Rothfus and Perry Vote No

Keith Rothfus portrait lores
Rep. Keith Rothfus

Pennsylvania’s rookie Republican Congressmen Keith Rothfus and Scott Perry are off to a conservative start. They voted against today’s bill that would give $9.7 billion in Hurricane Sandy flood insurance relief to the affected residents.

The two were sworn in this week.

The Hurricane Sandy Relief bill has been discussed for weeks. It was expected to be passed before the end of the 112th Congress, but due to the concerns voiced from some conservative GOP members the bill was delayed by House Speaker John Boehner. Many people, including some notable Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, protested loudly and called for the issue to be voted on as soon as possible. Boehner yielded to the pressure and scheduled a vote for Friday.

11 of Pennsylvania’s 13 Republicans and each of its 5 Democrats in the House voted in favor of the plan, including those in eastern Pa. where Sandy had a significant impact, if minimal compared to New York and New Jersey.

Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) was one of the Republicans who called for action on the bill Tuesday.

“Our leaders in the House made the right decision to quickly move this legislation forward so we can help our neighbors in need,” he said Friday. “Pennsylvanians were affected and so many of our neighbors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut lost everything in the midst of Hurricane Sandy.”

But some Republicans still objected to the bill on the grounds that the costs were not offset by equal cuts in other spending.

On his second day in office, Rep. Rothfus (R-Allegheny) voted no.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The affected areas and families need relief,” he said. “However, I came to Washington to control spending in a sensible manner. The bill passed today costs almost $10 billion and adds to the deficit. My concern is that we in Congress should have worked to find a way to pay for this now.”

Update: Perry opposed the bill on similar grounds, citing management deficiencies in the program. He told the York Daily Record:

Perry said the flood insurance program is $20 billion in debt and “already insolvent.” And he said the Congressional Budget Office estimated that nearly half the money wouldn’t be spent until 2014 or beyond.

“It’s not acceptable that it doesn’t help these folks immediately,” Perry said “…and it doesn’t make any foundational changes to the program.”

The flood insurance passed the House with bipartisan support by a margin of 354 to 67 (all objectors were Republicans) and now heads to the Senate for a Jan. 15 vote.

Keegan Gibson contributed to this report.

20 Responses

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  2. You people are ticked they didn’t vote for it? Hell, I live in NW PA, and nobody pays for my heating bills when it gets freezing cold. Why should my tax money go towards helping someone build a new house? They knew the consequences of living neat the Atlantic Ocean. I’m sorry they lost their house, but build somewhere safer next time.

  3. Granny…

    Alot of these claims will and are from people who paid into flood insurance. Are you suggesting the insurance program breaches those contracts?

    Second, ask Rep. King, a Republican how much of that pork was in the final bill.

  4. I applaud both of these Reps for their staunch stand. Since when is a country “held hostage” to replace someone’s private property. This is the problem with this COUNTRY, look to the Corrupt Gov’t, not to yourself. Where were you before the inefficient FEMA was organized. We had major damage from Floyd in 99; it took us 5 years to clean up and restore our home, with no help from the Gov’t.

  5. The flood insurance program is another Federal program crying out for reform. Even before this vote the insurance program’s debt ceiling was over $20 billion. With the $9.7 billion vote the debt ceiling is now over $30 billion. We need Congressmen with the guts to vote NO until these programs are reformed. In this particular case we need reforms that will stop subsides to people and real estate companies building housing on flood plains. This language could easily be inserted in this bill. Why was it not inserted? While as the Congressman states the existing claims need to be paid, we must have Congressman willing to vote NO until the bill includes the necessary reforms to make this program solvent. For example why are we asking the widow in the Hill District and the next generation to subsidize the multi-millionaire’s beech home on the Jersey shore? You can always find a poor working person in crisis but if we continue to base public policy on emotional responses America will end up with no growth and fewer opportunities for the next generation. Is that the America we want?

  6. Bob

    I’m laughing at your comments that “Democrats don’t seem to understand what they want has to be paid for.”. After extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, who shouldn’t have them; and placing not one but TWO wars on credit cards, it seems to me that the Republicans are the deadbeats, who don’t understand about paying bills when they are due, or not creating huge defecits w tax cuts for rich people.

    You’ve fallen off the apple cart Bob, you were doing well there for a while.

  7. If we had hundreds more the caliber of Scott Perry in Congress we would not be in the dire situation we currently experience. These low-information voters who cheer on every spending bill have no idea of the pork inserted in these bills as payback to the special interests that own the politicians they place in office.

  8. The good people of Johnstown might consider buying insurance which is what people with common sense do. Whining dependency is unbecoming of grown ups. Plan for the Rainy Day may be hokey but it works. It seems many want something for nothing that someone else, The Forgotten Taxpayer, has to pay for.

    Democrats cannot be trusted with money because they do not seem to understand that what they want has to be paid for. Some think that if you want something better, you should work for it.

  9. Congressman Rothus is already an embarrassment to the good people of Western Pennsylvania. It will be interesting o see if his so-called principles hold up should some calamity befall us.

  10. I understand the need to watch spending but this bill was 66 DAYS in the making. When Katrina hit it took 10 days for a relief bill to be passed. When Alabama had the devastating tornadoes it took 5 days to pass an aid bill.

    A lot of the pork in the bill went to places like the West (water management) and Alaska (fishing industry help).

    Why wasn’t a relief bill only, passed in a week is the real question.

  11. Wonder if Congressman Rothfus understood what he was voting on because it defies reason how a representative of Johnstown PA would vote against victims of a flood disaster – who bought and paid for a flood insurance policy – from getting their insurance claims resolved? From the Rothfus quote, sounds like he didn’t know what was in the legislation and he thought he was voting on sending New Jersey bailout money which is not the case.

  12. So glad these 2 realize we must have some way of paying for things other than putting it on a credit card.

  13. A good vote most appreciated by The Forgotten Taxpayer who has to pay for all of government spending.

    the government cannot continue to spend more than its income. Borrowing is deferred taxation and taxation inhibits investment in the growth of business that produce goods and provide servies we want and need, create jobs and raise our standard of living. Government spending lowers our standard of living.

    The bill increased the borrowing authority of the National Flood Insurance Program from $20,725,000,000 to $30,425,000,000

    The program already owes taxpayers $18 billion in borrowed funds from the last bailout. Congress passed a bill in 2011 that was supposed to solve the very problems that we are dealing with now.

  14. Perry is squarely safe and is clearly aiming for Party/Caucus leadership posts in the future, so his recalcitrance is unsurprising (already trying to curry favor with the TP Wing that will take over leadership in the not so distant future). Rothfus surprises me considering how razor thin his win was in 2012! He just put a huge target on his back!

  15. Scott Perry and Keith Rothfus you are ”pigs” i know you want to cut spending but those hurricane victims need and its wasteful to put a roof on their heads and let then die in the cold have merceie on them and pray for them

  16. Keith Rothfus won’t be around for long. This vote was a total embarrassment to the District and really gives insight as to Rothfus lack of compassion. He reverts back to “making cuts to pay for it.”. He should have been preaching that to George W Bush when he put two wars on the credit card.

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