Sen. Roy Blunt said Sunday Congress should not uncritically offer funding to rebuild Houston and the surrounding areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey.
Blunt said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” some funds should be appropriated quickly, and it “puts another reason on the table to get things done in September,” as Congress must also pass debt ceiling and spending bills.
But he stressed Congress should not “make the same mistake” as it did after Hurricane Sandy, when lawmakers approved $ 51 billion in funding to help with recovery along the New Jersey and New York coasts.
“I will say this on Harvey: one, the things the mayor just talked about, the [Federal Emergency Management Agency] money, the stabilization money, the cleanup money: all important to do quickly. The SBA loan money to get people back in operation: all important to do quickly,” Blunt said.
“That’s the money the president appears to be asking for,” he said, referring to the $ 7.85 billion request President Trump has spoken about. Before the larger Sandy package, Congress voted for a $ 9.7 billion measure to ease the processing of flood insurance claims by FEMA.
Blunt added: “Beyond that, I don’t think we want to make the same mistake that they made with Sandy, which is to ask for way more money than you knew yet what you needed. We can do this on multiple occasions, just like we did with the Joplin tornado a few years ago.”
Watch: Blunt’s appearance on “Meet the Press”:
Controversy over funding for Hurricane Sandy relief emerged soon after Harvey struck.
New York Rep. Peter King and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both Republicans, took swings at Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has resisted the large spending package.
“What matters is … people waited over 65 days for federal relief aid,” Christie said.