Tonight, as expected, the House passed its final package of disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy. The final legislation authorized $50 Billion in “emergency” spending to rebuild from the storm damage, including billions of spending for items unrelated to Sandy. The critical vote for conservatives was on an amendment offered by NJ GOP Rep. Frelinghuysen, which added $33 Billion in spending to the original House relief legislation. This amendment was packed with unrelated and wasteful spending. The good news is we now have a very handy list of whom to target in primaries in 2014.
Only 38 Republicans voted for the Frelinghuysen Amendment. Every member of House GOP Leadership voted against the amendment. Chairs of “A” Committees like Judiciary, Ways and Means, Financial Services and Energy and Commerce voted against the amendment. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chair of the Budget Committee, voted against it. I mention this, because, a Republican voting for this pork-infused amendment can’t simply argue they were being a “team player” or trying to curry favor with Leadership.
I’m willing to give a pass to any Republican from an affected state. Obviously, there are arguments against continuing to spend money we don’t have, but I can understand the politics of a vote if you are from VA, PA, NY or NJ. Setting aside these members, 20 Republicans from areas unaffected by Sandy voted for the Frelinghuysen Amendment.
There are only two reasons for such a vote: 1. the member simply believes the federal government is an unlimited ATM; or, 2. they won some kind of special provision within the legislation to spread federal money in their district. Half of the money in the Amendment, $16 Billion, is directed to HUD to spend on projects in any area impacted by an “emergency” in 2011, 2012, or 2013. That is a lot of money to swirl around the country at HUD’s discretion.
For conservative activists looking to change how the GOP establishment operates, there is no better place to start than these 20 members. Challenging some number of these 20 in primaries would send a powerful message to Washington that the auction for votes needs to end.
Below is a list of the 20 Republicans, from states unaffected by Sandy, who voted for billions in new deficit spending:
- Rodney Alexander, LA
- Charles Boustany, LA
- Rep. John Carter (R-TX), TX
- Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), OK
- Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), ND
- Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), TX
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), IL
- Jeff Denham, CA
- R. Diaz-Balart, FL
- Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), TX
- Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), MS
- Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), OK
- Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), MS
- Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), WA
- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), FL
- Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), IL
- Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH), OH
- Ed Whitfield, KY
- Cliff Young, FL
- Rep. Don Young (R-AK), AK