The rain is still falling in Texas from Tropical Storm Harvey, but congressional lawmakers already are staking their positions on billions in emergency relief money and calling out those who balked at aid for Superstorm Sandy five years ago.
New York Rep. Peter King over the weekend criticized fellow Republican and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for opposing the billion-dollar aid package for East Coast states hammered by Sandy in 2012. At the same time, he pledged to support aid for Harvey recovery.
“Ted Cruz & Texas cohorts voted vs NY/NJ aid after Sandy but I'll vote 4 Harvey aid,” King tweeted Saturday. “NY won’t abandon Texas. 1 bad turn doesn’t deserve another.”
Sandy was considered among the largest and most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history. The super-storm hit the New Jersey coast in October 2012, causing an estimated $75 billion in damage and killing hundreds in its path.
Cruz and senior Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn voted against a final, roughly $50 billion Sandy relief package approved by the Senate, after failing to get the funding offset by cuts to domestic spending.
Both senators complained at the time that unrelated spending items were attached to the aid package. A Cornyn spokesman noted to Bloomberg News that the senator “voted for a Sandy aid package without the unrelated spending, which included things like repairing fisheries in the Pacific."
Cruz’s Capitol Hill office did not immediately respond Monday to requests for comment on King's latest criticism.
“As lifelong NYer w/ NY values I will vote for emergency Harvey $ for Ted Cruz's constituents,” King also tweeted Saturday. “Above all, true Americans must stand together.”
King has been one of Cruz's fiercest critics in Congress. The tweets, though, preview what could be a contentious aid battle when Congress returns next week from August recess -- with an already jam-packed schedule that includes approving a spending resolution to keep the government fully operational past Sept. 30.
Members will have less than four weeks to pass 12 spending bills to avoid at least a partial government shutdown.
Their passage already is overdue. And negotiations could be complicated by the need to draft another bill to provide potentially billions in Harvey relief money.
In addition, Congress must agree to increase the federal debt ceiling or default on its financial obligations.
The battle over Sandy funding almost cost then-House Speaker John Boehner his post and undoubtedly contributed to his ouster in 2015.
Boehner, R-Ohio, allowed a vote in January 2013 for a roughly $60 billion spending package, despite not having enough support from Republican members in the GOP-controlled chamber, who also wanted spending offsets.
The measure, called a supplemental appropriations bill, passed with just 49 GOP members saying “yea” and 179 of 180 House Democrats voting in favor.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.