Neither the response to Hurricane Katrina nor Hurricane Sandy had been good. In fact, they have been abysmal. Despite the fact that Homeland Security and FEMA have had over 6 years to prepare and learn from past failures since Katrina, the response to Sandy has gotten worse. The media slammed President Bush (and rightfully so) for the slow response and to make matters worse they politicized the event by turning it into a race issue. Nearly three months since Sandy devastated the East Coast, Obama has avoided the same scrutiny and in fact, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are mistakenly receiving the blame for the slow Sandy response. Leading the charge against House Republicans is Republican New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. Christie and Democrats are criticizing Boehner for refusing to put a 60 billion dollar “Sandy Relief” bill up for a vote. Unfortunately, Boehner was right to do this because the bill bypassed Senate committee votes and the bill is laced with the following 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.
Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”
$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
Unfortunately, passing the proposed Senate Sandy Relief Bill would have been fiscally irresponsible especially in the face of a Fiscal Cliff debate as government spending is pushing the nation towards bankruptcy. This bill would have relegated fewer than half the dollars to help relieve Hurricane Sandy victims. Senate Democrats should be disgraced by their actions and answering questions about their fiscally irresponsible behavior by attempting to sneak unnecessary pork in necessary legislation.
Still, the blame is placed on the shoulders of Republicans even though liberal New York City Mayor called Senate Democrats disgraceful for trying to pay for pet projects instead of focusing on the people in need. This is what Democrats mean when they say “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Where was Obama when this bill came through Congress? Vacationing in Hawaii, but he is doing a great job in the medias eyes. Yet, I have not heard one victim from this storm praise the government response at any level (I am from the Jersey Shore). Why can’t we admit that FEMA and Homeland Security are not getting the job done and the buck stops at the President? Obama should be scolded just as rigorously as Bush for his failure. And Democrats should be ridiculed by the media for trying pass unnecessary spending in a critical bill.