Instead of providing a focus on the victims, or a focus on the nation’s bottom line, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have focused on pork-barrel projects as far from Sandy’s impact zone as one gets in the United States.
That’s no joke. The bill spends $150 million for fisheries in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Post reported this week. That is perhaps a drop in the bucket for a $60 billion funding request, but sheer nonsense in relation to disaster recovery on the Atlantic seaboard. Nor is that the only absurd request. The bill contains another $4 million for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, hundreds of miles from Sandy’s impact zone. Another $8 million goes to buy cars and other equipment for the Department of Homeland Security.
A whopping $336 million would go to Amtrak – about a quarter of the annual subsidy the government train service receives on an annual basis, according to the Heritage Foundation, which questions whether Amtrak took anywhere near that amount of damage from Hurricane Sandy. Further suspicion arises when considering that the original White House request for Amtrak emergency relief funds was $32 million – less than a tenth of what the bill now contains.