When the Senate passed the long-delayed $50.5 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package Monday, 36 Republicans voted against the bill. But of the 32 no-votes from Senators who are not brand-new members, at least 31 came from Republicans who had previously supported emergency aid efforts following disasters in their own states.
While opponents complained that the bill contained too much unrelated “pork,” each of the 30 of them who had been present earlier this month when the Senate passed the much-smaller $9 billion Sandy relief bill also voted no. All five top members of the Senate Republican leadership voted no on both.
Most incredible among the no voters were Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Those two had not just backed disaster aid in the past — they actually sought disaster aid for their own states for relief from Hurricane Sandy. And Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) endorsed disaster relief for snow storms damages in Arkansas just four days before casting his “nay” vote.
The “hypocritical” list includes:
1. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): Requested disaster aid after Hurricane Sandy.
2. John Barrasso (R-WY), Republican Policy Committee Chair: Requested disaster aid after flooding.
3. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Republican Conference Vice Chair: Demanded the Senate be called back from recess to pass disaster aid during a drought and boasts: “When a disaster surpasses the ability of states and communities to rebuild, Senator Blunt believes the federal government should prioritize spending to help the people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted. During his time in the Senate, he has fought tirelessly to ensure that Missouri gets its fair share of those federal resources specifically dedicated to disaster recovery.”
4. John Boozman (R-AR): Requested disaster aid after snow storms in January 2013.
5. Richard Burr (R-NC): Requested disaster aid after severe storms.
6. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): Requested disaster aid after flooding.
7. Dan Coats (R-IN): Requested disaster aid after tornadoes.
8. Tom Coburn (R-OK): Requested disaster aid after winter storms and for extreme drought.
9. Bob Corker (R-TN): Requested disaster aid after flooding and asked for supplemental emergency flood relief.
10. John Cornyn (R-TX), Republican Minority Whip: Demanded drought relief aid and requested disaster aid for wildfires.
11. Mike Crapo (R-ID): Boasted of obtaining a FEMA fire safety grant and pushed for a bill providing emergency drought relief.
12. Mike Enzi (R-WY): Requested disaster relief after flooding.
13. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): Requested disaster relief after freezing and boasted of obtaining emergency drought relief.
14. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): Requested disaster relief after severe hail storms.
15. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): Requested disaster relief after flooding.
16. James Inhofe (R-OK): Boasted of obtaining disaster relief after severe storms and drought.
17. Johnny Isakson (R-GA): Requested disaster aid after flooding.
18. Mike Johanns (R-NE): Requested disaster relief after flooding and blasted Democrats for “inaction on disaster relief” for drought and wildfires.
19. Ron Johnson (R-WI): Requested disaster relief after a blizzard.
20. Mark Kirk (R-IL): Appealed after FEMA denied assistance following severe storms and tornadoes.
21. Mike Lee (R-UT): After calling federal disaster relief unconstitutional, endorsed relief aid after flooding in Utah.
22. John McCain (R-AZ): Endorsed disaster relief after flooding.
23. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Republican Minority Leader: Requested disaster relief during a drought and after tornadoes.
24. Jerry Moran (R-KS): Requested disaster relief after tornadoes.
25. Rand Paul (R-KY): Requested disaster relief during a drought and after tornadoes.
26. Rob Portman (R-OH): Endorsed disaster relief during a drought and after storms.
27. Pat Roberts (R-KS): Boasted of obtaining disaster relief after drought and wildfires and criticized the Bush administration for inadequate emergency relief after a blizzard.
28. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Requested disaster relief after severe freezing.
29. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): Requested disaster relief after tornadoes and during a drought.
30. John Thune (R-SD), Republican Conference Chair: Requested disaster relief after flooding and snow storms.
31. Pat Toomey (R-PA): Requested disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy before it even hit landfall.
Not one of the opponents has co-sponsored Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “Extreme Weather Prevention and Resilience Act” which would encourage Congress to “prepare and protect communities from extreme weather, sea-level rise, drought, flooding, wildfire, and other changing conditions exacerbated by carbon pollution” and “reducing pollution, promoting the use of clean energy sources, and improving energy efficiency.”
ThinkProgrss previously reported that at least 37 House Republicans who opposed Sandy relief had also supported disaster aid for their home states.