Much like the big mouthed Governor of New Jersey, the aid bill coming out of the Senate was massive. Claims by the media that Chris Christie's criticism of Congress for delaying a pork filled bill resonated with voters may have been over blown. Super-sized are the claims that Republicans are still engaged in a media stimulated love fest with Christie. He is just another flawed politician that the media has tried to paint as the "savior" of the Republican party, in this case by honing in on his plan spoken style and tendency to call it "as he sees it"
The Governor said it was "disappointing and disgusting" to watch Congress postpone Sandy relief legislation. "There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner." Christie said he called Boehner four times on Wednesday night to urge action, but the call wasn't picked up. He went on to say "National disasters happen in red states and blue states." he claimed history shows that "We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans – or at least we did until last night." Christie should acknowledge that much of the problem is because House Republicans have proposed a bill of only $27 billion in aid rather than the $60 billion plus bill passed in the Democratically controlled Senate.
Many Republicans in Congress said that the Sandy aid bill contained billions of dollars in spending on projects unrelated to damage caused by the storm or for long-term infrastructure improvements that should compete with other discretionary spending. Among expenditures criticized was $150 million to rebuild fisheries, including those in the Gulf Coast and even in Alaska, thousands of miles from Sandy's devastation, and $2 million to repair roof damage that pre-dates the storm on Smithsonian Institution buildings in Washington. As usual, there are few details on which expenditures must be considered immediate disaster needs and addressed. Senate Republicans tried to shrink the $60.4 billion package to $24 billion for near-term projects, but this was defeated in the Democratic-controlled chamber.
The problem is the bill brought before the House was a porker, full of fat gifts that America cannot afford. At a time that America is sporting a deficit of close to 1.5 trillion dollars, we don't need this. Simple math shows that the 60 billion dollar price tag on this legislation means 180 dollars for every man, woman, and child in America. For a family of four that comes to 720 dollars. We all know that the 47 million Americans on food stamps will find coming up with the money to pay their share as somewhat daunting. Our lawmakers in Washington and Gov. Christie should do the math, while a small part of the overall budget, yes every 60 billion dollars does matter!
A FOOTNOTE: this article was originally written right after Congress had rolled over and passed a pork filled permanent tax relief package. At the time I expected that they would draw a line in the sand concerning this wasteful bill. Now the big ugly $60 billion pig has been passed. This only proves that even as America suffers under the weight of a massive deficit the only thing you can count on is for our Congress to do the wrong thing, and spend more. Nothing is different.