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Pa. Republicans Split on Sandy Relief

Huffpo sandy_outages
An October map of Sandy-related power outages

For the most part, it’s a matter of east vs. west. Of the Republican Congressman who voted against Tuesday’s bill for Superstorm Sandy relief, just one – Rep. Joe Pitts – represents a district that is mostly east of the Susquehanna River.

The limited impact that Sandy had in Pa. was concentrated in the eastern part of the state.

The GOP delegation voted 7 to 6 against the bill. All of Pa.’s Democrats voted for it, except Rep. Allyson Schwartz who did not vote.

The bill, which appropriated $51 billion to immediate relief costs as well as long term recovery, passed the U.S. House by a margin of 241 to 180. It moved mainly on Democratic votes; Republicans opposed the bill by a margin of 179 to 49.

Those who voted ‘no’ from Pa. included Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Erie), Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny), Scott Perry (R-York), Joe Pitts (R-Chester), Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny), Bill Shuster (R-Blair), and GT Thompson (R-Centre).

They had two primary objections: that the bill contained pork, and that its price tag was not offset by other spending cuts.

“Unfortunately, the package voted on today results in another $50 billion borrowed from our kids and grandkids,” said Rothfus. “Moving forward, I will work with my colleagues to craft better ways to budget and pay for future natural disaster relief.”

“I support immediate financial support for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but cannot support more taxpayer abuse under the guise of emergency relief,” said Thompson, whose press release also noted that the bill contained funding for items like Amtrak funding.

Perry and Rothfus had earlier voted against a smaller, provisional package of Sandy aid; the other 16 members of the Pa. delegation supported that measure.

The Sandy relief bills has provided a big test to the GOP House, which has been forced to choose between anti-spending party orthodoxy and the awful political optics of congressional inaction.

Voting ‘yea’ were Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne), Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), Jim Gerlach (R-Chester), Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) and Pat Meehan (R-Delaware).

“I believe we need to be very careful about every dollar that our federal government spends as we are facing record deficits,” said Meehan. “While we continue our work to put our fiscal house in order, we cannot stand by while so many of our neighbors in New York and New Jersey – those areas hit the hardest – are still suffering. Many of them without homes, without jobs, and without any support.”

10 Responses

  1. @Steve, they don’t like to talk about George W Bush because he was an embarrasment to the Republican Party.

  2. Well Ryan, I’m glad you aren’t my elected representative. Funny thing is, it’s doubtful you were calling for all of those offsetting cuts when George Bush and the republicans were spending like drunken sailors for all those years.

  3. I would have voted against it too. Just like the wars, these “emergencies” should be funded with offsetting cuts. Both parties are wrong on this.

  4. astonishing that any CongressMAN from PA would vote against this bill. Bucks County PA was hard hit by Sandy. I guess they must have been confused about Jersey Shore PA versus the real Jersey Shore NJ

  5. For some reason, the east vrs west breakdown of the PA GOP delegation vote reminded me of the line in the movie “Braveheart”: “We’ll support this rebellion from our lands in the south, but oppose it from our lands in the north”. Anyway, would have been nice if the GOP had stood together on this one and opposed the bill. I suppose when it really matters to them personally, they don’t mind deficit spending. Wonder if this will make the Deficit Ceiling move any closer?

  6. Perhaps if we didn’t spend trillions on worthless “green jobs” and “shovel ready” projects there would be more people that would support this bill. Perhaps if this administration actually spent time talking about hurricane preparedness, instead of trying to find ways to eliminate the 2nd Amendment and other parts of the Bill of Rights, people would be more supportive of their leftist views.

  7. “sweatyfederalist” there is no mention in the same article about policing the world or Fighting a war on emotions, but I bet you don’t oppose those.

  8. Just disgusting. We don’t mind “borrowing money from our kids” to provide oil and gas subsidies, tax loopholes directed at specific factions of our society, or to engage in two unfunded invasions, but to help others in need…that’s different. Revolting.

  9. Just re-read Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. My copy seems to omit any references to “hurricane relief”. Can anyone send me one of those living constitutions I hear folks talk about?

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