Lamborn, Buck vote against disaster relief plan
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.”