New Jersey lawmakers are simultaneously aiding Texas and scorning its lawmakers as the state endures massive flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, which shows no signs of abating until later in the week.
On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie called congressional members from Texas "hypocrites" after senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn urged President Donald Trump to release relief funds for their state despite voting against similar legislation when Superstorm Sandy pummeled New Jersey in 2012.
U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., and Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., also issued statements expressing their support for sending emergency disaster funds to Texas despite the previous slight.
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"We are the United States of America and in times of trouble, emergencies and hardship, we must remain unified," Norcross said. “We will never move forward as a country if we hold grudges. Let’s put partisanship and geography aside and remember that we're in it together.”
LoBiondo announced his intention via Twitter:
"Disasters & emergencies are just that...disasters & emergencies. Must stand together as Americans, not be hypocritical based on geography," LoBiondo said.
Republican Rep. Peter King from New York also tweeted over the weekend “that 1 bad turn doesn’t deserve another" and promised to back sending relief funds.
When Sandy knocked out power from the Jersey Shore up to Boston, eight Texas Republicans voted against increasing flood insurance and 23 voted against emergency funds for victims. Both measures eventually passed in the House and Senate and were signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Cruz was among those who did not vote for Sandy relief.
"Emergency relief for the families who are suffering from this natural disaster should not be used as a Christmas tree for billions in unrelated spending," he said in a statement at the time.
“Two thirds of this spending is not remotely ‘emergency’; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30 percent of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.”
Projected home damage from Harvey could be upward of $40 billion, according to one global property analyst CoreLogic.
On Friday before Harvey struck, Cruz and Cornyn asked Trump to grant Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request for a major disaster declaration for the state.
“Given the potential catastrophic impact that the Hurricane may have on Texas communities, we strongly support this request and urge you to provide any and all emergency protective measures available by a major disaster declaration,” they said.
By Friday evening, Trump had directed federal aid towards recovery in the form of “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”
On Monday, Cruz publicly thanked the president and his cabinet for acting "swiftly" and "enthusiastically" when Harvey struck. He also rebuffed questions about his lack of support for Sandy relief, adding those bills were "two-thirds pork spending completely unrelated" to the storm.
"There is time for political sniping later," he said.