Fox News
January 04, 2013

Who's to blame for playing politics with Sandy victims?

Guests: Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va.; Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.; Scott McGrath, Sandy victim

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 4, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight, the victims of Superstorm Sandy are being exploited, they are being forgotten about and they are being pushed aside by greedy, out of touch Washington lawmakers. Because as of this very hour, a full relief package has yet to be approved by the U.S. Congress, and you're about to find out why. Here is the very latest.

Now earlier today the House of Representatives, they passed one very limited portion of the Sandy relief package that only totaled 7.9 billion -- or $9.7 billion to help pay for flood insurance claims. However, the other part of the package, which totals more than $51 billion, well, that now remains on hold until January the 15th.

Now, here is why. Now, back in December, the Senate passed a $60 billion disaster relief measure, but because the bill was so loaded with outrageous, non-storm related pork, the GOP leadership, they had to pull it. Now, some of the more outrageous examples of pet projects that Harry Reid and the Democratically-controlled Senate put into this bill, let's see, $150 million for fishery disasters in places like Mississippi and Alaska. Now, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Alaska was affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Now, $20,000, let's see, for a new car for the Department of Justice Inspector General, $2 million to fix museum roof tops in D.C. By the way, this is only a few of the items. But there is another aspect of the story that we need to talk about.

Now, throughout all of the blatant politicizing, well, our fearless president, he's remained silent, because it's funny during the several photo ops that he promised the victims he was going to be there for them. You may remember this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are here for you. And we will not forget, we will follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you rebuild.

We are not going to tolerate red tape. We're not going to tolerate bureaucracy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: And that was the president when politics mattered, that was our compassionate leader and how he sounded when he was on the campaign trail. But with millions of dollars still waiting for help and millions of people, where is Obama now? He's on vacation, he's with his family. He's eating ice cream and snow cones. He's hitting the gym, he's going surfing, the basketball court, golfing with friends. And he's doing this as the victims wait for him to make good on his word.

Now, in a moment you're going to hear from one of those New York residents.

Joining me first with an update on where things stand in this dysfunctional Congress is Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes and South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy. Guys, welcome to the program.

REP. RANDY FORBES, R-VA: Thank you, Sean, it's great to be with you.

HANNITY: Congressman Gowdy how much actual pork within the Senate bill, how much in terms of total dollars?

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: You mean the bill that we're going to vote on January 15th?

HANNITY: Well --

GOWDY: At least half of it. Not what we did today, but what's coming up is the pork-laden bill, and about half of it is what you described. It's fisheries in Mississippi. I know Sandy was big, but I don't think it hit Alaska and I'm positive it didn't hit Mississippi. Cars for the Department of Justice, roof tops in the District of Columbia, about half of what Harry Reid calls an emergency is pork.

HANNITY: Now, this is obviously an abuse of power by the Democrats. Why do you think, Congressman, that they did this?

GOWDY: Because they can. Because nobody calls them on it. Because those of us who voted no today, for instance, because we had the unmitigated temerity to ask for an offset -- because frankly, Governor Christie wants to bully and berate and badger people into passing a bill no matter how pork- laden it is. We're $16 trillion in debt and I don't think it's asking too much that we found an offset, that we found waste, fraud abuse, duplicative programming, something to pay for this $9 billion that we spent today instead of mortgaging the future of our kids. I don't think that's too much to ask.

HANNITY: I don't think it's too much -- I don't -- first of all, they should have moved quicker than this as the president promised he would do, and secondly, I don't think that the people of the Rockaways, and Long Beach and New Jersey and the Jersey Shore and Staten Island, I don't think they deserve to be put in the middle of a political football here, Congressman Forbes.

In other words, they're being held up, they're being used and abused in this process because Congress, they're looking to get any spare change that they can get out of the taxpayers and it's non-Sandy related. That's not fair to the people that are victims here.

FORBES: Well, Sean, absolutely. And one of the things that I think Trey and I both agree on, and I know you do, is that the number one priority we ought to have here are the needs of the victims, not the needs of these senators. And what we're finding here is the process that they use. They have the same crisis playbook every time and here is the way it works. Senator Reid, one person in the Senate, lets the clock run down, he keeps his eye on that play clock and when there's a few seconds left, he calls timeout, he huddles with a few senators and they ask what can we get out of this bill and then they throw that in there and they try to shove it down the throats of the American people, and that's what they tried to do in this particular situation.

And Sean, it's not just the pork we found in there. We found that about 64 percent of all of this bill couldn't be done, not just in two days or two weeks, it couldn't be done in two years, and yet, they don't want to even give the American people time to read the bill to make sure we can get those offsets that Trey talked about.

HANNITY: You agree -- and I saw the outrage and Congressman King is a friend of mine -- Congressman King is a friend of mine and Chris Christie, I understand the outrage, they' looking out for their constituents, I get that. But the reality here, they should be mad at Senate Democrats for using this tragedy to take more money at a time when our country is bankrupt. Do you agree with that analysis?

FORBES: I think absolutely. I think what we saw is a bunch of people going to podiums, pounding on the podiums, sometimes they were crying, sometimes they were acting emotional about this situation, but what they weren't really saying is this, this bill comes down with literally minutes to be able to review the bill. You've got, as Trey mentioned, we've got so much pork that's laden on here when we've already got a $16 trillion debt and they don't want to even give people time to review the bill and pull this out. I think that's just wrong.

I'm glad the speaker pulled this. We did what we needed to do today. We've got the funding we needed for the flood insurance program. We'll come back on the 15th and meet the need of the victims, but not the need of these other senators who have been just too greedy in this whole process.

HANNITY: All right, congressmen, thank you both for what you're doing here. This is really unfair to people that have paid their taxes. This has done -- been done in every other state and now they are waiting three times as long as any other victim.

And speaking of which, joining us now is a victim of Superstorm Sandy, and that is the resident of Staten Island, Scott McGrath. You've become a pretty big spokesperson for the people who live in your community. What is your reaction to the fact that they are trying to load up this bill with pork and it's now delaying your ability to get the aid that you guys obviously deserve?

SCOTT MCGRATH, SUPERSTORM SANDY VICTIM: It's wrong. First of all, it's totally wrong. You know what? They didn't do it to the other victims of the other storms in the past.

HANNITY: Katrina.

MCGRATH: Katrina. There was the other ones I'm looking online, it took days. You know, everybody was -- you know, they went after George Bush and they attacked him and asked him to be held accountable. I met with the president. The president and I spoke face-to-face as me and you are sitting here today.

HANNITY: I have video -- there is video right there of you and the president.

MCGRATH: Right, exactly. And --

HANNITY: And he told you --

MCGRATH: He told -- I first told him, I said, Mr. President, I said, you have lied to the American people and to the middle class, and he asked me what do I mean by that. I said, you several days ago, you said you were going to cut the red tape. You haven't cut the red tape. He says, no, no, no, FEMA works for me and I'm going to assure you the red tape's going to be cut.

We're two months later and the red tape ain't going to be cut. You know, he gave me his personal aides to talk to, Bobby Schmuck and a -- Nicholson. I talked to them, I had a couple of letters with them, and Bobby doesn't talk too much now, Mr. Schmuck, because he said I was upset and I shouldn't be talking about the president because the president is really trying --

HANNITY: Is that really his name?

MCGRATH: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: All right. I'm just -- I don't know the guy.

MCGRATH: It's his name. I've got the proof at home.

HANNITY: OK.

MCGRATH: It's on his business card -- and I told him, I e-mailed him and we did speak with FEMA, and then, FEMA now -- for a matter of fact, I have five adult people living in my home.

HANNITY: And you've just got your heat back on just now.

MCGRATH: Heat and electric just came back on through Rapid Repairs.

HANNITY: And you're doing it yourself?

MCGRATH: Rapid Repairs is a city program, but everything else me and my wife are ripping everything apart and rebuilding ourselves, because it's a gimmick, and like what I am saying with FEMA earlier, I wrote to FEMA about losing a car. One of my cars wasn't covered under the insurance. FEMA turned around to me and said, why do you need three cars? Hello, the American dream is that I'm entitled to buy what I want as the middle class.

HANNITY: Last word. What do you want to say to the president tonight in light of all of this?

MCGRATH: Mr. President, I want you to come back to my address on Staten Island, with my borough president and any other politician and tell me to my face why you're putting this pork in this bill and not helping us, the victims, and the middle class of Sandy. If this was some other area, a low class area they'd be helping them, but it's the middle class, working people, that keep getting the finger here.

Mr. President, you know my address. I welcome you and any other politician to come to my home, tell me face-to-face that why this pork is in there, why, and what you're doing to help the victims of Sandy. Don't go through the media. Don't go through anybody else. Come to my house on Staten Island and you come face-to-face -- that's my local politician, my governor, that hasn't even come out and said one word to support the victims, he's sitting up in Albany in his room, nice and warm for the holidays and has not come out to help the people of New York.

HANNITY: Well, I hope you get what you deserve. It's every other area has been helped. Thank you for being with us. I wish you and everybody that's been a victim here the best.

Thank you.

MCGRATH: Thank you.

Content and Programming Copyright 2013 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Interviews

See more interviews →

Get Social with Sean

connect on social media

Want more Hannity?

subscribe to Sean's podcasts!

See All Podcasts

Want to know the story about Sean's ties? Learn more when you spin the Hannities wheel.

Check out the page