With Hurricane Harvey victims in desperate need of aid on the Texas coast, echoes of the disastrous rollout of the 2012 Hurricane Sandy relief bill have unfortunately resurfaced. The Sandy bill took awhile to get out of Congress, thanks to infighting on Capitol Hill over how much of the funds would actually go to the victims. Tensions are high over whether the same arguments will arise over the relief funding for Texas.
The drama has been on full display, with several lawmakers not willing to let go of the bitter taste from 2012. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), for instance, shamed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on CNN this week for "lying" about the Sandy relief bill. Cruz recently said the Sandy bill was "filled with pork," but Christie called that argument "disgraceful," especially since the senator said it while standing in a relief shelter.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo grilled Rep. Blake Fahrenthold (R-TX) Friday morning on whether Republicans had their act together this time. Fahrenthold represents Texas's 27th district, which includes Corpus Christi, one of the cities to be hammered hardest last week by Harvey.
Cuomo asked Fahrenthold to reflect on the disaster that was the Sandy relief bill. This time, it is Fahrenthold's "people that are going to suffer" if Congress doesn't get it right, Cuomo told the representative.
"What would make you not vote for a relief bill in Texas?" Cuomo then asked him.
While Fahrenthold acknowledged that he and his fellow lawmakers "can't the ignore debt crisis" and have to put that in context with any relief funding, he also "doesn't see" how he could vote against it.
This tragedy is still unfolding. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Friday on CNN that he hopes Congress will "put themselves in Texans's shoes" when considering how much relief to offer.
I have to believe that Fahrenthold, and any other lawmaker from Texas, clearly has their constituents in mind.
Here is another reminder about all the ways you can help Harvey victims.