WASHINGTON — Budget Chairman Paul Ryan Friday joined with 66 other conservative Republicans in opposing a $9 billion flood insurance measure aimed at helping Hurricane Sandy victims.
In a statement released by his office, Ryan argues he believes “we must help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. We should meet all of their needs as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, Washington’s legislative response fails on both counts. It refuses to distinguish—or even prioritize—disaster relief over pork-barrel spending.”
Ryan did not actively oppose the bill, and the measure passed on a lopsided basis, making the no votes largely symbolic. However, the level of opposition was still significant, and it could mean troubles for a larger $51 billion Sandy spending bill that Speaker John Boehner has promised to bring to the floor later this month.
The influential Club for Growth also came out against the bill.
Ryan and other conservatives have long demanded reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program, which is billions of dollars in debt, and he argued, “It would be irresponsible to raise an insolvent program’s debt ceiling without making the necessary reforms.”
Ryan also noted that much of the borrowing authority in the bill won’t be available for years and that not all of it is directed at victims of Sandy.
“In a time of crisis, we must ensure that every dollar we spend is on those who need it. President Obama and Congress owe the people of New York and New Jersey better,” Ryan said.