PDT Staff Writer
U.S. Representative Dr. Brad Wenstrup (R-Second) was one of 67 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all Republicans, who voted against the $9.7 billion flood insurance package to help pay Hurricane Sandy claims.
The Portsmouth Daily Times contacted Wenstrup’s office for an explanation for his vote and was referred to a response that office had made to a Cincinnati Enquirer’s Politics Extra sent Friday.
“My heart goes out to our fellow Americans whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” Wenstrup said. “However, with annual trillion dollar deficits, as we work to help our fellow citizens as quickly as possible, we must also be mindful of our country’s fiscal realities and do so responsibly. I voted against this bill, which would increase the program’s borrowing authority by $9.7 billion, because it was not offset by cuts elsewhere in the federal budget; nor did it advance the necessary structural reforms to a program that is already in debt.”
The conservative Club for Growth had urged members to oppose it and said they would use it a key vote in their scorecards for members.
The bill gives more borrowing authority to the National Flood Insurance Program to pay about 115,000 pending claims.
Northeast lawmakers say the money is urgently needed for victims of one of the worst storms ever to strike the region. Speaker of the House John Boehner set Friday’s vote after sparking controversy with a decision to delay House action on a broader Sandy aid package. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey issued a joint statement after the package passed Congress.
“Today’s action by the House was a necessary and critical first step towards delivering aid to the people of New Jersey and New York. While we are pleased with this progress, today was just a down payment and it is now time to go even further and pass the final and more complete, clean disaster aid bill. We are trusting Congress to act accordingly on January 15th and pass the final $51 billion instrumental for long-term rebuilding in order for New Jersey, New York and our people to recover after the severe devastation of Hurricane Sandy.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com