DENVER — Colorado’s four Republican members of Congress were savaged as hypocrites by two of their colleagues from New York, still upset that the delegation voted against a congressional aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy but have more recently supported federal aid for victims of devastating flooding here in their home state.
“You never know when and where these disasters are gonna hit,” Rep. Peter King, R-NY, told the Daily News. “They should just thank God, we didn’t use the same tactics against them that they used against us.”
None of the four GOP congressmen from Colorado — Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora, Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs or Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez — had responded to Dan Friedman of the Daily News in time for the initial version of the story.
But, on Wednesday, Friedman updated the story with a response from Gardner’s spokesman, Alex Siciliano:
A spokesman for Gardner defended the congressman’s vote on the funds in a statement to the Daily News by insisting he “voted for emergency disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy, but when he offered an amendment to add Colorado fire victims to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, it was rejected.”
“The rejection of the amendment essentially said that Colorado fire victims weren’t as important as hurricane victims and that is why he voted against the additional funding,” the spokesman said. “If these congressmen wish to complain, perhaps they should take the time to understand our concern that Colorado victims were ignored.”
Evan Armstrong, a Coffman staffer, also told FOX31 Denver that the true version of events isn’t as simple as the New York delegation makes it seem in their home town newspaper.
The initial $16 billion Hurricane Sandy aid package that passed the House had the support of all four Colorado Republicans.
When the Senate added $35 billion in additional spending to the bill, much of which House members considered “pork projects”, Republicans rejected it, as Coffman outlined in a statement to FOX31 Denver Wednesday.
“In January of 2013, a $17 billion in direct emergency Sandy relief bill sponsored by House Appropriations Chairman, Rep. Hal Rogers and a $33 billion amendment, sponsored by Rep. Frelinghuysen were voted on in the House,” Coffman said.
“I absolutely believe that the federal government should assist areas affected by disasters, which is why I supported $17 billion in direct emergency relief; but I could not justify subsequently supporting a wasteful $33 billion Senate amendment that included non-emergency spending directed to areas not affected by Hurricane Sandy, such as the $150 million allocated for fisheries in Alaska.”
One Colorado congressional staffer brushed off the criticism, noting that King is “trying to make headlines” in support of a rumored bid for president.
King’s office did not respond to a FOX31 Denver request for comment.