As Hurricane Irma sets its sights on a new part of the American South, those impacted by Hurricane Harvey are looking to the government for help. Disaster relief is a touchy subject, as many in this country see the relief as handouts akin to welfare. Yet the need is obvious to most. Not all, though. Here is the list of 90 Republicans who voted against Harvey relief.
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Four of the no votes came from congressional representatives from Texas. Joe Barton, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson and Mac Thornberry, all Texas Republicans, voted no on the $15.25 billion aid package. The measure was ultimately approved.
The votes may not have been in opposition to the aid, but to the riders attached to the bill: a three-month lift of the debt ceiling. The move allows the U.S. Treasury to borrow more money, and stretches last year’s budget for another three months.
Thornberry on his no vote: “Roughly, we have lost about as many service members this year in non-combat accidents as people died in Harvey"
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) September 8, 2017
The House voted 316-90. As the Washington Post reports, “The four Texas lawmakers who voted no all scrambled to make clear they support the government helping their state recover from rainfall totals so unprecedented that weather forecasters had to invent a new color for their maps. Earlier in the week, the entire Texas delegation voted for an $8 billion package for Harvey victims. After Trump made a deal with Democrats on the debt ceiling and budget, that original package died in the Senate, which instead passed a measure with the additional provisions. The House did the same Friday. Estimates for Harvey cleanup go as high as $150 billion.”
The vote total, and the assurance that it had passed, allowed the 90 no-voters the luxury of casting protest votes against the President’s deal with the Democrats.
“I am not against voting for relief programs to help hurricane victims, but I am against raising the public debt ceiling without a plan to reduce deficits in the short term, and eliminate them in the long term,” Rep. Joe Barton said in a statement. “The money we vote to spend today will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren.”
“Disaster assistance should be considered on its own — not to advance another agenda,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry.
“I wish that had not been done,” Ted Cruz said of the decision to tack so much onto the bill. “And as result, an awful lot of members will vote against it.”