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rtamerica:

Feds investigate NJ governor over Superstorm Sandy relief funds

Days after a traffic scandal transposed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the center of a federal probe, a United States congressman now says the embattled Republican is being investigated for allegations he misspent millions of dollars in relief aid.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) asked the inspector general of the United States Housing and Urban Development Department back in August to examine how Gov. Christie’s office spent around $25 million in federal aid from Washington meant to assist with relief efforts following 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. Now five months later, Pallone says he’s been told that the probe has expanded to become “a full-blown investigation,” the second of such to be launched in under a week against the Christie administration.

Suggesting his relationship with Congress — and members of his own party — has been irrevocably damaged, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on Friday once again blasted Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for voting against disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

"My relationship with Congress will never be the same again. They made us wait 90 to 100 days to give the most basic human aid that is required. It’s absolutely disgraceful," King said during an appearance on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." "And when I see these Republicans, we slap each other on the back, all the camaraderie, ‘hey, we’re great friends.’ All I know is there were people who were close to dying in my district and no one gave a damn."

King told host Joe Scarborough that he’ll never forgive and forget the Republicans who opposed the relief bill.

"And by the way, guys like Marco Rubio in Florida. All the money that your people have gotten in Florida over the years from every hurricane that came along," King said. "And this guy has the nerve to vote against money for New York and then come up here and try to raise money. You know, he can forget it."

h/t: Talking Points Memo

When the Senate passed the long-delayed $50.5 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package Monday, 36 Republicans voted against the bill. But of the 32 no-votes from Senators who are not brand-new members, at least 31 came from Republicans who had previously supported emergency aid efforts following disasters in their own states.

Most incredible among the no voters were Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Those two had not just backed disaster aid in the past — they actually sought disaster aid for their own states for relief from Hurricane Sandy. And Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) endorsed disaster relief for snow storms damages in Arkansas just four days before casting his “nay” vote.

The “hypocritical” list includes:

1. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): Requested disaster aid after Hurricane Sandy.
2. John Barrasso (R-WY), Republican Policy Committee Chair: Requested disaster aid after flooding.
3. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Republican Conference Vice Chair: Demanded the Senate be called back from recess to pass disaster aid during a drought and boasts: “When a disaster surpasses the ability of states and communities to rebuild, Senator Blunt believes the federal government should prioritize spending to help the people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted. During his time in the Senate, he has fought tirelessly to ensure that Missouri gets its fair share of those federal resources specifically dedicated to disaster recovery.”
4. John Boozman (R-AR): Requested disaster aid after snow storms in January 2013.
5. Richard Burr (R-NC): Requested disaster aid after severe storms.
6. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): Requested disaster aid after flooding.
7. Dan Coats (R-IN): Requested disaster aid after tornadoes.
8. Tom Coburn (R-OK): Requested disaster aid after winter storms and for extreme drought.
9. Bob Corker (R-TN): Requested disaster aid after flooding and asked for supplemental emergency flood relief.
10. John Cornyn (R-TX), Republican Minority Whip: Demanded drought relief aid and requested disaster aid for wildfires.
11. Mike Crapo (R-ID): Boasted of obtaining a FEMA fire safety grant and pushed for a bill providing emergency drought relief.
12. Mike Enzi (R-WY): Requested disaster relief after flooding.
13. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): Requested disaster relief after freezing and boasted of obtaining emergency drought relief.
14. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): Requested disaster relief after severe hail storms.
15. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): Requested disaster relief after flooding.
16. James Inhofe (R-OK): Boasted of obtaining disaster relief after severe storms and drought.
17. Johnny Isakson (R-GA): Requested disaster aid after flooding.
18. Mike Johanns (R-NE): Requested disaster relief after flooding and blasted Democrats for “inaction on disaster relief” for drought and wildfires.
19. Ron Johnson (R-WI): Requested disaster relief after a blizzard.
20. Mark Kirk (R-IL): Appealed after FEMA denied assistance following severe storms and tornadoes.
21. Mike Lee (R-UT): After calling federal disaster relief unconstitutional, endorsed relief aid after flooding in Utah.
22. John McCain (R-AZ): Endorsed disaster relief after flooding.
23. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Republican Minority Leader: Requested disaster relief during a drought and after tornadoes.
24. Jerry Moran (R-KS): Requested disaster relief after tornadoes.
25. Rand Paul (R-KY): Requested disaster relief during a drought and after tornadoes.
26. Rob Portman (R-OH): Endorsed disaster relief during a drought and after storms.
27. Pat Roberts (R-KS): Boasted of obtaining disaster relief after drought and wildfires and criticized the Bush administration for inadequate emergency relief after a blizzard.
28. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Requested disaster relief after severe freezing.
29. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): Requested disaster relief after tornadoes and during a drought.
30. John Thune (R-SD), Republican Conference Chair: Requested disaster relief after flooding and snow storms.
31. Pat Toomey (R-PA): Requested disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy before it even hit landfall.

Not one of the opponents has co-sponsored Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “Extreme Weather Prevention and Resilience Act” which would encourage Congress to “prepare and protect communities from extreme weather, sea-level rise, drought, flooding, wildfire, and other changing conditions exacerbated by carbon pollution” and “reducing pollution, promoting the use of clean energy sources, and improving energy efficiency.”

ThinkProgrss previously reported that at least 37 House Republicans who opposed Sandy relief had also supported disaster aid for their home states.

Vote all these morons out in 2014, 2016, or 2018!

h/t: Josh Israel at ThinkProgress Economy

New York Republicans and Democrats are publicly furious with Speaker John Boehner for abruptly cancelling an expected vote late Tuesday night on a relief package for victims of superstorm Sandy.

The Senate recently passed an aid package for Sandy victims worth $60 billion, a price tag that made many House Republicans nervous. So they decided to divide it up into two parts: $27 billion and $33 billion. The first part was vetted by appropriators for wasteful spending but the second wasn’t. And most of the latter chunk would not have been spent in the first year, anyway. So one school of thought was to vote separately on both and let the chips fall where they may.

The likely upshot was that the House would immediately authorize $27 billion for victims and give themselves time to determine, in the next Congress, how much of the rest was necessary. A two-track vote was expected after the bill to avert the fiscal cliff. But it never happened. Why was it pulled?

Wednesday morning on the House floor, New York Republican Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm blamed Boehner for what they described as a betrayal.

“It was entirely the speaker’s decision,” said a GOP leadership aide, who doesn’t work in Boehner’s office. “As to why we’re not voting on it now? That’s a question I can’t answer.”

At a press conference in New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Wednesday that he’s “distraught” and “angry” over the House’s failure to hold a vote, blaming it on a House GOP “leadership squabble.” He said Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been “truly helpful” in piecing together the package and blamed Boehner.

“Cantor has been very much for us, but Speaker Boehner … pulled the rug out from under us,” Schumer said. “It’s a Boehner betrayal.”

A Cantor aide affirmed that the majority leader has been pushing for the package.

h/t: TPM

Republicans and Democrats from New York erupted in anger late on Tuesday night after learning that the House Republican leadership decided to allow the current term of Congress to end without holding a vote on aid for victims of superstorm Sandy.

Peter King, a New York Republican, said he was told by the office of the majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, that Speaker John Boehner had decided to abandon a vote this session.

House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters that just before Tuesday evening’s vote on fiscal cliff legislation, Cantor told him he was “99.9% confident that this bill would be on the floor, and that’s what he wanted”.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said: “The speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month.”

In remarks on the House floor, King called the decision “absolutely inexcusable, absolutely indefensible. We cannot just walk away from our responsibilities.”

At least 120 people died during Sandy, which battered coastline areas from North Carolina to Maine, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the hardest hit states and suffered high winds, flooding and storm surges. The storm damaged or destroyed more than 72,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey. In New York, 305,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and more than 265,000 businesses affected.

"This is an absolute disgrace and the speaker should hang his head in shame," said Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat.

"I’m here tonight saying to myself for the first time that I’m not proud of the decision my team has made," said Michael Grimm, a New York Republican.

"It is the wrong decision, and I’m going to be respectful and ask that the speaker reconsider his decision. Because it’s not about politics, it’s about human lives."

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, said she didn’t know whether a decision has been made and added: “We cannot leave here doing nothing. That would be a disgrace.”

H/T: The Guardian

demnewswire:

“Let’s remember our social compact that government will be there when people are in need. House GOP leaders should allow #Sandy relief vote.”
x

Pelosi’s right.

demnewswire:

“Let’s remember our social compact that government will be there when people are in need. House GOP leaders should allow #Sandy relief vote.”

x

Pelosi’s right.

(via Fischer Blasts Gov. Christie, Says That Not Allowing Price-Gouging is ‘Socialism’ | Right Wing Watch)

On today’s broadcast, Bryan Fischer blasted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for praising the Obama Administration’s response to Hurricane Sandy and for refusing to campaign for Mitt Romney in the midst of the recovery.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, Fischer also criticized Christie for taking a strong stand in support of the state law that bans price-gouging on gasoline during an emergency, saying that not allowing sellers to charge whatever they want amounts to “socialism” and only serves as a disincentive to the production of more gasoline:  

halphillips:

It’ll only be for elections that apply to both that location and your own area— so president and U.S. senator, but not local stuff.

Props to Cuomo.

(via On FNC’s Your World With Neil Cavuto, Giuliani Claims Obama Response To Hurricane Sandy ‘Worse Than Katrina’)

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani isn’t exactly famous for his tact, but he kicked his penchant for overstatement into overdrive this Sunday, twice falsely claiming that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to Hurricane Sandy was worse than its botched response to Hurricane Katrina under President George W. Bush.

Speaking at a Romney campaign office in Florida,Giuliani said “[Obama] right now is doing a terrible job of disaster relief in my city, but no one is talking about it…People don’t have water, they don’t have food, electricity and his FEMA is no where to be found. This is a worse response than Katrina.” He also levelled the charge during a Fox News appearance, telling host Neil Cavuto that the notion FEMA was doing a good job was a “joke:”

I think maybe because there’s an election going on, people don’t want to say that, but I think FEMA has dropped the ball, certainly as big they did with Katrina, maybe bigger because they had more warning here and the situation isn’t as big as Katrina.

Giuliani’s view is at odds with the assessment of virtually every other observer of the agency’s performance during the two storms. While the Bush Administration’s famously incompetent response to Katrina delayed the provision of critical federal aid by days and poorly distributed it, FEMA had 1,500 well-organized workers on the ground the day after Sandy hit, which former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security and FEMA critic Paul Rosenzweig called “a massive and admirable [sic] effort.”

Several prominent members of Giuliani’s own party share Lieberman’s assessment. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of the leaders faced with most difficult post-Sandy reconstruction,said “The federal government’s response has been great…The President has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA.” Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign, said Governor Romney had no quarrel with President Obama’s handling of the situation. Gillespie added that “from what we’ve heard from the governors, they’re working well with FEMA” and that “there’s a good working relationship between the state and the federal government.”


(via Hannity Falsely Suggests FEMA Has Done Nothing To Help Sandy Victims | Video | Media Matters for America)

Shut the fuck up, Sean Hannity! I think it’s time you need a spanking from a dominatrix for your lies, HandTitty!

The right-wing media falsely reported that Alabama-based utility companies were turned away in New Jersey for hurricane disaster relief because they use non-union labor. However, multiple Alabama utility companies mentioned in these media reports say the claims are “rumors” and simply “not true,” and New Jersey utility companies have also denied that non-union working crews have been turned away.

Local Alabama news station WAFF was quoted in multiple right-wing news reports after it claimed that three utility crews from Alabama were not allowed to help with storm aid in New Jersey because they were non-union. Predictably, Fox News picked up the report almost immediately. During the November 2 edition of Fox & Friends, the hosts asserted that non-union crews were not allowed to help in New Jersey hurricane relief, and frequent guest Charles Payne added that this is “one of the more despicable aspects of what we are seeing”:

Following this report, Drudge linked to other right-wing websites making similar claims under the headlines “Non-union crews turned away from NJ…” and “‘No Red Tape’?”:

Later on Fox, host Gretchen Carlson issued a minor update explaining that many of their viewers had in fact seen Alabama crews working in New Jersey.

WAFF, the source of the original reports, has since updated its post about these claims. It continues to report claims from an Alabama-based Decatur Utilities employee that his crew was presented with documents by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) that required union affiliation in order to provide disaster relief. However, WAFF clarifies that Decatur Utilities’ general manager said crews “were not turned away but were made to believe that affiliating with the union was a requirement to work.”

NorthJersey.com further noted that New Jersey utility companies were accepting all offers of help, regardless of union status:

Non-union crews should not be concerned about coming to New Jersey to help bolster the efforts of New Jersey utility companies, officials said today.

"We are accepting any available resource," said Karen Johnson, a spokeswoman for PSE&G.

"We are working with our union and have non union crews participating in our restoration efforts," said Ron Morano, a spokesman for JCP&L. "We continue to accept support from out of state utility companies and contractors."

See Also: Dana Busted: Anti-Union hack Dana Loesch falsely attacks unions of “not helping the Hurricane Sandy storm victims”

h/t: MMFA