As Congress takes up the second slice of relief money for Superstorm Sandy, the influential Club for Growth said Monday it will seek to punish the lawmakers who support the $51 billion package because it includes wasteful spending and pork that have nothing to do with reconstruction efforts in the Northeast.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, meanwhile, continued to ramp up pressure on Congress to pass the relief package, saying that the proposal before Congress “simply isn’t” a pork bill, and that he has been assured that the GOP-controlled House will handle the Sandy relief legislation in a similar fashion to how Congress handled federal assistance for victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast, the tornado that slammed Joplin, Mo., and floods in Iowa.
“We don’t expect anything more than that, but will not accept anything less,” Mr. Christie said, after touring recovery efforts in Bradley Beach, N.J. “If they want to make new rules about disasters, well they picked the wrong state to make the new rules with, and we are going to continue to fight as hard as we need to.”
The dueling messages underscore the divisions within Republicans ranks over the relief package — a $17 billion bill and $34 billion amendment
Still, the Club for Growth and other budget watchdogs, such as Taxpayers for Common Sense, say the $51 billion package also includes millions of dollars for Amtrak upgrades, FBI salaries and road projects in states not affected by the storm.
In a letter to lawmakers on Monday, Andy Roth, the Club for Growth’s vice president of government affairs, said lawmakers should oppose the Sandy relief package that Congress is expected to take up this week and said disaster relief legislation should be offset with spending cuts elsewhere and not larded up with what the groups calls pork projects.
“These voters will be included in the Club for Growth’s 2013 congressional scorecard,” said Mr. Roth, explaining that the scorecard grades lawmakers on how well they support what the group deems as pro-growth, free-market policies.