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Lindsey Graham: I Voted Against 'Pork-Fest' Aid for Hurricane Sandy

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By    |   Tuesday, 06 October 2015 06:11 PM

Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham Tuesday slammed critics of his plans to seek federal aid for flood-ravaged South Carolina after opposing assistance for New Jersey three years earlier, telling Newsmax TV that "the $60 billion package in the name of Hurricane Sandy was just a pork-fest."

"The reason I voted against the $60 billion package was because it was full of stuff unrelated to Hurricane Sandy," the South Carolina senator told "The Hard Line" host Ed Berliner. "I'm not going to ask people to help South Carolina in that fashion.

"I'm not going to be part of that," Graham added. "Republicans are not going to do that. Let me just say this: South Carolina is not going to ask for that."

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The three-term senator has come under fire for planning to approach the federal government for flood relief to South Carolina while voting against assistance for New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

He told Berliner that the $51 billion ultimately rewarded to the Garden State did not go through the regular congressional appropriations process — and that only 11 percent of that money went to addressing storm-related problems.

The rest was spent on other projects unrelated to the hurricane. The original aid request totaled $60 billion.

Graham supported a $24 billion Sandy aid package that had been proposed by Republicans.

That amount was blasted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, now another challenger for the GOP presidential nomination, who said that Louisiana had received $51.8 billion after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In addition, 47 other states have received community development funds to address such crises, Graham said.

"I don't care what people say," the senator told Berliner. "I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to assess the damage, ask the counties and the state to come up with a number and make sure that all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

"And, then, I'll ask the federal government to meet its responsibilities, if there are any obligations by the federal government, but not use this as a way to spend money unrelated to the tragedy — and that's why people hate Congress so much."

He said that he would be touring the state and meeting with Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and the National Guard to assess the damage.

"It's pretty bad. There's been a lot of dam spill," Graham told Berliner. "Eighteen inches in 18 hours. It's just hard to describe."

Turning to the White House sweepstakes, he said that front-runner Donald Trump "will overcome Donald Trump" — adding that he was not sure whether the developer will be out of the race by the Iowa caucuses in February.

"I don't know if he'll be out, but his message is not consistent with a winning message and his policies don't make a whole lot of sense, given a world on fire," Graham said. "He wants to ignore Syria. Well, [President Barack] Obama's doing that. That's not much of a change."

He also dismissed recent polls that placed him at under 1 percent popular support.

"I'm in it to win it," Graham. "This thing is just getting started.

"This is the second inning of a nine-inning game. I like where I'm going in terms of message."

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Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham Tuesday slammed critics of his plans to seek federal aid for flood-ravaged South Carolina after opposing assistance for New Jersey three years earlier, telling Newsmax TV that "the $60 billion package in the name of...
lindsey graham, critics, federal, aid, south carolina, flooding
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2015-11-06
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 06:11 PM
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