Groups: Sandy Relief Bill Filled with Pork Unrelated to Disaster Relief

Groups: Sandy Relief Bill Filled with Pork Unrelated to Disaster Relief

Conservatives and taxpayer watchdog groups have examined the Senate’s $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill and have discovered it funds things completely unrelated to Hurricane relief. The bill appropriates money to fund Amtrak, Head Start centers, fix museum roofs and repair the Kennedy Space Center, among other things. 

Heritage Action For America and the Club for Growth announced Monday they would score the vote because the bill contained such an outrageous amount of pork. 

The Club for Growth said the bill is a “textbook response by Congress” when ” a natural disaster occurs.”

“They cobble together an overpriced bill that isn’t paid for, there’s no accountability or oversight, and it’s filled with pork,” the group said. “This proposal is no different.”

Heritage Action For America found the bill contained “$150 million for fishery disasters but the language could allow money to be spent far from the Sandy impact zone in places like American Samoa, which is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.” 

Taxpayers for Common Sense found the bill spent “$20,000 to buy a new car for the Department of Justice inspector general, allows the government to rebuild or relocate flood-prone state facilities in 30 states, has $821 million for dredging projects nationwide and allows loan cancellations for Hurricane Katrina-related loans” in addition to lowering the bar for the “Army Corps of Engineers projects to receive government funding” while increasing funding for Amtrak. 

“People are still hurting here, and, yes, they do need help,” Steve Ellis, the vice president of the group told The Hill. “But the more extraneous things that get tacked on, the more it becomes a gravy train for miscellaneous projects rather than a true relief bill.” 

According to The Hill, the bill also includes: “$2 million to fix museum roofs in Washington, D.C.; $100 million for Head Start centers; $348 million for damage to parks, including the Statue of Liberty’s island; and $4 million to repair the Kennedy Space Center and other launch sites.”

The White House has officially backed the bill and the bill, if it passes the Senate, would go to conference committee with the House since it is “attached to a military construction and Veterans Affairs bill that has already passed the House.”