New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie responded sharply on TV last night to the alibi from Sen. Ted Cruz (and others in Texas) that their votes against Hurricane Sandy relief could be justified by unnecessary pork in the legislation.

That’s a lie, said the Republican governor, whose state received Sandy money.


Sen. Tom Cotton, then a representative, was among those who made the same unsupported claim — or lie if your prefer Christie’s formulation. Then-U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor laid out chapter and verse of Cotton’s votes against aid to Sandy victims, but it did him no good in his election battle with Cotton and his nuclear attack on Obamacare (now suddenly a great deal more popular among the millions it has helped.) Cotton wouldn’t even vote for a one-issue bill to finance flood insurance claims, alone among the Arkansans in Washington. Even Rep. Tim Griffin was an aye. Cotton wouldn’t give aid to flood victims unless somebody else gave up federal support in another category.

The Washington Post has all the details on the Sandy legislation. Cut to the chase:


The Congressional Research Service issued a comprehensive report on the provisions, and it’s clear that virtually all of it was related to the damage caused by Sandy. There may have been some pork in an earlier Senate version, but many of those items were removed before final passage. There were also some items that appear to have been misunderstood.

Ryan, for instance, referred in a statement to “non-Sandy expenses,” such as “sand dunes at the Kennedy Space Center, highway repairs in the Virgin Islands, and roof repairs in Washington, D.C.” But Sandy was a storm that stretched far beyond New Jersey and New York as it raced up from the Caribbean.

The Smithsonian Institution suffered roof leaks from heavy winds and torrential rain, resulting in a $2 million request. The shoreline near Launch Pads 39A and B at the Kennedy Space Center also suffered major erosion, leaving the ocean less than a quarter-mile away, so $15 million was added to deal with that problem and repair a NASA facility on Wallops Island in Virginia that also was damaged by Sandy.

I hope Tom Cotton will join Ted Cruz in finding less reason to oppose coming legislation to bail out storm-ravaged Texas and not just because it’s a red state, unlike New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Because then and now it’s the right thing to do.