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Ted Cruz: 2013 hurricane relief bill ‘filled with pork’

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Ted Cruz answers a question during the CNN Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on Sept. 16, 2015.

On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz defended fellow Republicans who voted “nay” on a 2013 Hurricane Sandy relief bill — calling the legislation a “bill filled with pork.”

Both Texas Sens. Cruz and John Cornyn voted against the disaster relief act, which designated federal funds to the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, which did particular damage to New Jersey and New York among other states in 2012.

“Every Republican, including Texas Republicans, agreed that hurricane funding is an important and critical role for the federal government,” Cruz said. But Cruz added that his concern was that the 2012 bill became “a $50 billion bill filled with pork and unrelated spending that wasn’t hurricane relief.”

“It was simply local members of Congress spending on their pet projects and two-thirds of what was spent in that bill had little or nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy,” Cruz said to CNN’s Jim Acosta during “Wolf” on Monday.

Cruz’s comments come as Hurricane Harvey continues to devastate swaths of his home state of Texas. And the area could see a record-breaking 50 inches of rain in coming days. Meanwhile, Louisiana braces for the storm that is headed its way.

On Friday, President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for Texas, which directed federal aid toward the state’s recovery efforts.
“Of course, the federal government has a critical role in disaster relief,” Cruz said Monday. “It has before and should continue to, but you should not have members of Congress that are exploiting disasters to fund their pet projects, and so there will be time for all of those debates in Washington.”

Cruz said at a press conference on Monday evening that he had spoken with Trump, who pledged on Monday to provide relief from the storm.

“He said, ‘Ted, what does Texas need? Whatever the state needs, we are there,'” Cruz said of his conversation with the President.

Cruz said he had also spoken with Vice President Mike Pence a few days ago, and Pence reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to providing relief for the state.

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