LANSING – In one of his first votes of the 2013-14 session, Congressman Dan Benishek put his hypocrisy on full display by rejecting relief for Americans devastated by Hurricane Sandy even though he endorsed disaster relief for Michigan farmers impacted by severe weather in spring 2012.
“The voters of Michigan’s First Congressional District deserve a representative that puts ideology aside and works with his colleagues in our nation’s best interest,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. “Americans come together in times of natural disasters. It’s what makes our country great. Why can’t Dan Benishek understand that standing against the victims of Hurricane Sandy will make it harder for him to advocate effectively on the behalf of his constituents in the future? Why should any New Jersey or New York representative ever vote in favor of helping the people of northern Michigan? Ultimately, compromise is what makes our government work — and people like Dan Benishek are why Washington doesn’t work anymore.”
The relief package approved by the U.S. House was just a small portion of the funds requested, but 67 Republicans rejected even the partial plan. Think Progress found that most of those who voted against the Hurricane Sandy relief package had previously supported emergency assistance for projects in their own districts.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been harsh in his criticism of fellow Republicans that have delayed relief for Hurricane Sandy victims, saying in his State of the State address, “We have waited 72 days, seven times longer than victims of Hurricane Katrina waited. One thing I hope everyone now clearly understands — New Jersey, both Republicans and Democrats, will never stand silent when our citizens are being shortchanged.”
Two other Michigan representatives, Justin Amash and Kerry Bentivolio, joined Benishek in opposing Hurricane Sandy assistance. The final roll call vote was 354-67, and is available here: