Lam­born, Buck vote against dis­as­ter re­lief plan

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press and Den­ver7

Two of Colorado’s Re­pub­li­can con­gress­men voted Thurs­day against a dis­as­ter re­lief bill that would send $36 bil­lion in aid to Puerto Rico and other places rav­aged by re­cent hur­ri­canes, as well as to pro­grams aid­ing the fire­fight­ing ef­forts in the U.S. West.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­proved the aid pack­age Thurs­day in a 35369 vote. Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lam­born both voted against the pack­age, as did 67 of their Re­pub­li­can col­leagues.

But the rest of Colorado’s House del­e­ga­tion — in­clud­ing Repub­li­cans Mike Coff­man and Scott Tip­ton — voted to pass the mea­sure for the much-needed aid pack­age on to the Sen­ate, which is ex­pected to vote on it next week.

Still, more than twothirds of House Repub­li­cans voted to pass the mea­sure, de­spite on­go­ing con­cerns from most that deficits were ris­ing be­cause of the mas­sive hur­ri­cane re­lief ef­forts that are drain­ing the Na­tional Flood In­sur­ance Pro­gram.

The House Free­dom Cau­cus and a top Tea Party group had both voiced con­cerns about the mea­sure ear­lier this week, say­ing the aid pack­age should be off­set by spend­ing cuts in other ar­eas.

For one, the Na­tional Flood In­sur­ance Pro­gram is see­ing ap­prox­i­mately $16 bil­lion of its debt be­ing wiped out un­der the Housep­a­ssed mea­sure. FEMA has said the pro­gram has al­ready reached its bor­row­ing limit.

Buck and Lam­born are both mem­bers of the cau­cus, and both stuck to that mes­sage when cast­ing their votes Thurs­day, say­ing while Puerto Rico and other ar­eas des­per­ately needed re­lief, they wouldn’t sup­port rais­ing the deficit.

“The Dis­as­ter Re­lief Ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill is un­ac­cept­able be­cause it writes off $16 bil­lion of debt that the Na­tional Flood In­sur­ance Pro­gram owes the Trea­sury with­out re­quir­ing any re­forms in re­turn. Con­gress can­not sweep this egre­gious er­ror un­der the rug in the name of dis­as­ter re­lief. Our fel­low Amer­i­cans who are suf­fer­ing right now de­serve a so­lu­tion that is re­spon­si­ble,” Lam­born said in a writ­ten state­ment to Den­ver7.

Buck took a sim­i­lar stance when asked for com­ment on why he voted against the aid pack­age.

“I fully sup­port help­ing our fel­low ci­ti­zens in Puerto Rico. I have voted for dis­as­ter re­lief fund­ing, but I refuse to vote for bills that dras­ti­cally in­crease the debt with­out re­form­ing the poli­cies caus­ing that debt,” he told Den­ver7. “Rather than bail­ing out the Na­tional Flood In­sur­ance Pro­gram like this leg­is­la­tion did to­day, we should be re­form­ing the pro­gram to pre­pare for fu­ture dis­as­ters.”

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