New Jersey’s Democrats are still reeling from Washington’s perennial ‘business as usual’ mentality after the first Sandy Aid bill contained millions of dollars of pork that would never touch the affected Northeast. Well, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews doesn’t think all of that pork is kosher and is demanding that his colleagues strip all ‘'pork payouts’' from a massive bill designed to aid his constituents.
“I’m very concerned that this Sandy relief bill not be a gravy train,” Andrews forcibly told reporters Friday. “I want to be sure that, to the extent possible, every dollar in this bill pertains to Sandy relief.”
Andrews’ claims were justified by an analysis released by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group.
The non-partisan group released an analysis of the bill on Thursday, showing the $51 billion measure including millions for roof repairs at Smithsonian buildings, FBI salaries and expenses, and for the Drug Enforcement Administration to repair 15 vehicles. At the moment, every state except Arizona, Michigan and South Carolina would be competing for the money, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Andrews, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's 1st district, shut down all the chatter from fellow Democrats, claiming that getting rid of all the pork could potentially hurt the bill’s chances of clear passage.
“If the House passes a bill that is clean, that only helps the areas of the country that have been afflicted by the storm, then I think the pressure on the Senate to act would be considerable,” he told USA Today. “I don’t think money to Alaska or to rebuild a roof that was not damaged by the storm is justified.”