If you go to the website of Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland, you’ll see a whole page devoted to Hurricane Sandy recovery. You’ll see pictures of him touring flooded coastal towns. You’ll see the number to call if you lost your power. You’ll even see a link to the website for the National Flood Insurance Program.
What you won’t see on his Hurricane Sandy Recovery Update is an explanation for why he voted against letting the flood insurance program borrow more money to pay flood insurance claims, 800 of which are pending in Maryland. That particular bit of malarkey is on another page:
“The current national flood insurance program is obviously broken and must be reformed,” stated Harris. “Unfortunately, today’s vote does nothing to ensure the long-term stability of the national flood insurance program which is important to the Eastern Shore.”
Harris wasn’t the only congressman to vote against the first chunk of Sandy relief. In all, 67 members of congress voted No—all Republicans, bless their hearts. And Harris wasn’t even the only one representing a hurricane zone to vote against funding flood relief for Sandy, so maybe he doesn’t deserve more than his share of scorn.
There’s also Steve Palazzo from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Farther down the coast you’ll find Randy Weber, who represents the area of Texas flooded by Hurricane Ike. Both voted No on Sandy relief.
Mo Brooks from Alabama offered a toxic excuse for his No vote on Sandy relief.
“People have to protect themselves from the risks of weather, particularly if they live in an area that is periodically hit by substantial storms,” said Brooks, who secured federal aid when his district that was hit by tornadoes in 2011. “They should not expect American taxpayers to subsidize a vacation home on the beach.”
It might help Brooks and his fellow Gulf Coast hypocrites sleep better if they believe that’s what congress approved, but that dog don’t hunt. People who live in coastal areas do protect themselves. It’s called buying flood insurance.
And congress wasn’t handing out money to anyone. Instead, it increased the borrowing power of the flood insurance program so it could pay claims. The program used to be self-sustained by flood insurance premiums, but the fund went deeply into debt after Hurricane Katrina.
This is where the hypocrisy of these virulent nitwits starts stinking up the fridge. Within two weeks of Katrina making landfall, congress had already passed two emergency relief packages totaling $62.3 billion, and they did it with the votes of at least 16 of those who voted against Sandy relief.
Members of the House Science Committee also show up prominently on the list of those who voted for Katrina relief but against Sandy relief, including Jim Sensenbrenner, who believes solar flares cause global warming, and Randy Neugebauer, who’s response to the drought and tornadoes in 2011 was to sponsor a resolution calling on Americans to pray. Thank God. Without congress, I’m not sure Americans would remember to pray. Also on the science committee are our friends Brooks, Harris and Palazzo, so we’re in good hands there.
This is what the Party of Lincoln has come to: congressmen voting the flood insurance program into debt and then using that debt as an excuse to vote against funding flood insurance for flood victims who are only flood victims in the first place because of global warming, a problem they’re in charge of addressing but which they believe is an elaborate hoax.
“They’re a bunch of jackasses,” said former three-term Republican Sen. Al D’Amato, a resident of Long Island. “Every one of the 67 who voted no are nothing more than pawns of a philosophy that is not backed up by facts.”
A recent poll found congress was less popular than colonoscopies, used car salesmen, and Nickelback and only slightly more popular than gonorrhea. But maybe that’s not fair.
After all, you can cure gonorrhea.
Jason Stanford is a Democratic consultant who has helped elect or re-elect more than two dozen Members of Congress. He lives in Austin, Texas. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jasstanford.