After Sen. Ted Cruz defended his vote against the $50 million relief package for Hurricane Sandy in 2012, saying on Monday that two-thirds of the bill had “nothing to do with Sandy" and that it was full of "pork," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired back on Wednesday, calling him a liar.
Cruz had told NBC regarding the 2012 bill, "The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy."
Christie slammed Cruz on MSNBC's Morning Joe, citing a Washington Post column saying that a Senate bill that never passed had more spending but had been stripped out. He said, "He should just stand up now and say, 'You know, what I did was wrong.’”
Christie added of Cruz’s remark that two-thirds of the 2012 was pork, “He just made it up. Ted’s particularly good at that.” He added, "The truly disgraceful part of what we just saw was that he’s not telling the truth standing in a recovery center where people are suffering.” He concluded, “What was wrong was for Ted Cruz to exploit the disaster for political gain — that's what he was doing.”
But as Clayton Felts at The Resurgent noted, Cruz may have overstated the case, but the bill was indeed full of pork:
According to CBO, only 30 percent of the Sandy money was spent by September 2014 and 80 percent by September 2017. Additionally, according to a study by the Taxpayers for Common Sense and released by National Review, the bill included the following.
- $150 million for fishery disaster areas in Mississippi and Alaska
– $20,000 for a new car for the Inspector General of the Justice Department
– $10.8 billion for the Federal Transportation Administration; and cancellation of loans related to Hurricane Katrina
– $4 million for repairs at the Kennedy Space Center
– $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center
– $150 million for fisheries in Alaska damaged by a 2011 Japanese tsunami, which littered debris on Alaska’s shoreline
– $2 million to fix an (apparently quite expensive) roof at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
– $13 billion for future flood preparations (that is, money that was not spent on victims of Sandy but on preventing future, Sandy-scale disasters from occurring)
A Freedom Work’s Analysis added:
$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.
The Heritage Foundation found $200 million in the 2012 bill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be used freely at the discretion of the Secretary.