Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the Flag Day speaker for the Orange County GOP this year and when not channeling the late Senator Joe McCarthy, his actions as Texas’ newest Senator only solidify his credentials as a major league hypocrite.
Cruz voted against an emergency aid bill for Hurricane Sandy victims earlier this year, claiming it was loaded with pork. But in the wake of an explosion of a fertilizer plant in Texas — a plant that is a private company — Cruz has led the way asking the Federal Government to provide disaster relief. Cruz issued this statement about the explosion:
“We are in very close touch with officials on the ground and we’re monitoring the tragic accident closely,” he said at the Capitol. “It’s truly horrific and we are working to ensure that all available resources are marshaled to deal with the horrific loss of life and suffering that we’ve seen.”
I’ve bolded the part about “all available resources” for a reason.
Here’s what Cruz said in defending his vote on Sandy relief:
Hurricane Sandy inflicted devastating damage on the East Coast, and Congress appropriately responded with hurricane relief. Unfortunately, cynical politicians in Washington could not resist loading up this relief bill with billions in new spending utterly unrelated to Sandy.
Emergency relief for the families who are suffering from this natural disaster should not be used as a Christmas tree for billions in unrelated spending, including projects such as Smithsonian repairs, upgrades to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplanes, and more funding for Head Start.
Two thirds of this spending is not remotely “emergency”; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.
This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – an addiction to spending money we do not have. The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.
There’s a small problem with the Senator’s statements; they are misleading at best and wrong at worst.
This Politico story sums it up nicely:
While it’s true that lawmakers like to use/abuse the freedom granted by “emergency funding”, it’s also ironic that, according to PolitiFact, “A big portion of the $17 billion in “immediate” assistance, more than $5 billion, went to replenish FEMA’s disaster relief fund, which may fund relief from future disasters.” PolitiFact also disagrees with some of the math Cruz repeated, “On Jan. 28, it passed H.R. 152, a separate $50.5 billion package. Of that $50.5 billion, $17 billion went toward immediate Sandy aid, while $33.5 billion was for “near- and long-term assistance and mitigation,” according to a Congressional Quarterly analysis.”
Furthermore, Rick Ungar, writing at Forbes, pointed out that the “pork” came from having to bribe red state Republicans — including Texas — in order to get the package passed over their filibuster, “However, as it turns out, the pork portions of the Senate bill were not earmarked to benefit Democratic members of the upper chamber of Congress…
The answer can be found in a quick review of the states that are set to benefit from the Senate’s extra-special benevolence—states including Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.”
For all of Republicans’ bluster about the evil fed and how they want to secede and how everyone should be like them, and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, it’s instructive to recall Gov. Perry’s outraged condemnation at being left to his own devices after fires swept across Texas, “It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency.” And now, Perry is desperately gloaming onto Big Daddy President Obama, going so far as to finally admit that the President is a Christian.
No Republican ever manages to tell us where that money is supposed to come from if we don’t collect revenue, instead they claim offsets should be found before the relief is doled out — unless, of course, it’s their state under seige.
Cut to April of 2013. Texas needs federal aid because they don’t do such a great job of regulating and overseeing businesses or zoning, apparently. So when a fertilizer plant that had once been allowed to operat without a pollution permit for several years blew up and impacted a nearby school and nursing home, the devastating damage was more than Texas could cope with alone.
We’ll note that Cruz, nor any other Republican, has mentioned what should be cut from the budget to pay for any aid coming to Texas to deal with the explosion of the plant and its aftermath.
I can’t wait for Cruz to explain his “no” vote not to expand background checks for firearm purchases, or for trying to equate restricts on certain firearms under the Second Amendment with restricting certain books under the First Amendment with Senator Diann Feinstein dressing down Cruz with class and grace. It takes a special sort of Republican to question Chuck Hagel’s patriotism during the hearings for Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense, but Cruz did.
In the assault weapon debate, Cruz questioned the constitutionality of an assault weaons ban by asking Senator Feinstein if the First Amendment applied only to certain books. DiFi let him have it:
Let me just make a couple of points in response—one, I’m not a sixth grader, Senator, I’ve been on this committee for twenty years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode… Look, there are other weapons. I’m not a lawyer, but after twenty years, I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn’t mean that weapons of war…and the Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. And so you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time….I’m reasonably well-educated. I thank you for the lecture. Incidentally, this does not prohibit — you used the word ‘prohibit’ – it exempts 2,271 weapons. Isn’t that enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka?
Cruz responded by saying Feinstein chose not to answer the question he posed to her.
A number of OC Republicans have been cheering on Senator Cruz since he took office. Social media is a bitch — its amazing what gets said. So its not surprising the OC GOP has selected perhaps the most arrogant member of the minority party in the Senate to address their rank and file on Flag Day. I guess our Republicans need some arrogance tips of their own.