Texas Lawmakers, Now Bracing for Harvey, Voted Against Sandy Spending

WASHINGTON -- In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that hit New Jersey and New York in 2015, eight Texas Republicans voted against increasing flood insurance, and 23 voted against emergency funding for victims. Both measures ultimately passed the House and Senate before being signed into law by President Obama. But the history of votes against flood insurance benefiting other needy states could come back to haunt Texas members of Congress should they have to apply for federal funding themselves after Hurricane Harvey. Projected damages from the storm could reach nearly $40 billion.The first bill funding Sandy aid granted the Federal Emergency Management Agency a temporary $9.7 billion increase in borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program, passing 354-67 in the House and by voice vote in the Senate.Republican Reps. Mike Conaway of Midland, Bill Flores of Bryan, Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Kenny Marchant of Coppell, Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, Randy Weber of Pearland, and Roger Williams of Austin voted no on the bill, as did former Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock.The second bill provided $17 billion in emergency funding for Hurricane Sandy victims and communities, passing the House 241-180 and the Senate 62-36.Both Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz also voted no. With the exception of Houston Rep. John Culberson, all Texas Republicans congress members at the time voted against the bill. All but three are still in office today.Despite the fact that Texas is a state prone to big natural disasters, lawmakers have stood by their votes .Weber, whose coastal district will be affected by Hurricane Harvey and has been racked by flooding in the past, called for President Obama to back a FEMA funding bill in October 2013. He defended his vote against the Sandy relief bill because it raised the deficit and was “full of pork.”  Continue reading...

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