Our View: Boehner not to blame

Posted: January 5, 2013

John Boehner may have survived a tense re-election vote for House speaker, but the Republicans’ circular firing squad continued wreaking a measure of havoc on other fronts.

Take, for instance, the uproar surrounding the stalled Superstorm Sandy relief bill. Republicans from the ravaged Northeast — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Rep. Peter King, being most prominent — heaped abuse on Mr. Boehner for postponing a vote on the aid package.

Now, Mr. Boehner may be guilty of a lot of things these days — “fiscal cliff”-related items mostly — but hesitance on the Sandy bill is not one of them. He, and many other Republicans, saw the measure for what it was: a $60 billion pork-laden legislative travesty filled with goodies that had no reason being tied to the legitimate suffering of storm victims. Try cash for fisheries in Alaska or dollars for Head Start and for repairs to the Smithsonian.

“It amounts to exploiting disaster victims, which is inexcusable,” chided the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That’s where the anger should be focused.

And towards whom should such anger be focused? Not Mr. Boehner, but towards the free-spenders in the Obama administration and their legislative water-carriers.

On Friday, the new Congress approved $9.7 billion in aid carved out of the bill to help pay flood insurance claims to folks affected by Sandy. Congress is expected to vote on the remaining $51 billion in the package later this month. Of that total, it’s been estimated that another $10 billion and change is Sandy-related. The rest is pure pork.

Republicans should resist again, and hold out for a “clean bill” addressing storm claims only. Perhaps by then that circular firing squad will have holstered its rhetorical weapons.