Attempts to paint Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as a hypocrite over Hurricane Ian disaster aid are spreading throughout mainstream and social media.
At issue is DeSantis’ vote for Hurricane Sandy relief for New York and New Jersey. As The New York Times tweeted on Thursday, “DeSantis, as a freshman congressman in 2013, opposed a federal bailout after Hurricane Sandy. Now, as Florida confronts the devastation and costly destruction wrought by Hurricane Ian, DeSantis is seeking relief.”
In the rush to help victims of Sandy late in 2012, Democrats did what they do best: spend big with other people’s money. Then-President Barack Obama demanded $60 billion for New York and New Jersey.
After some back and forth over how much pork Obama and the Democrats stuffed into the first bill, Congress settled on a $9.7 billion relief package — the first of two — that allowed FEMA to borrow that funding to support the National Flood Insurance Program relative to Sandy.
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DeSantis voted against this. There is no dispute as to why. As WUSA in Washington quoted the former congressman, DeSantis posted on Facebook in January 2013, “I sympathize with the victims of Hurricane Sandy and believe that those who purchased flood insurance should have their claims paid. At the same time, allowing the program to increase its debt by another $9.7 billion with no plan to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere is not fiscally responsible.”
Where the liberals’ big lie comes in is not telling the public that Congressman DeSantis backed a relief bill that almost doubled that amount — as Dustin Carmack, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation pointed out on Twitter on Thursday.
Carmack’s thread included a link to a 2013 article in The Hill that noted House Republicans, led by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who championed an amendment for $17 billion in Sandy relief that would be paid for by cuts to other federal programs unrelated to the disaster aid.
“It’s important to me that this money goes to the folks who need it very badly. It’s so important to me, that I think we should pay for it,” Mulvaney argued. “The time has come and gone in this nation where we can walk in here one day and spend nine or 17 or 60 billion dollars and not think about who’s paying for it.”
DeSantis supported Mulvaney’s measure, which was defeated after being rejected by all but five Democrats and about a third of the GOP majority at the time.
In other words, Democrats, as they always do, did not care about driving taxpayers deeper into debt or want to sacrifice any of their other big government programs, and they convinced dozens of Republicans, who at the time reportedly claimed to care about responsible spending, to go along.
Ultimately, DeSantis joined 178 other Republicans in voting against a second bill for $50 billion in Sandy relief.
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As GOP Sen. Ted Cruz pointed out in 2017, two-thirds of that spending was for projects that did not provide immediate relief to Sandy’s victims.
As for DeSantis, when WUSA asked for a comment about his 2013 vote, his office replied, “Thanks for the well wishes, but give it a rest with amplifying all the critics. We are completely focused on hurricane response. As the governor said earlier, we have no time for politics or pettiness.”