4 Texas Republicans voted against extending aid as their districts flooded
Much of southeast Texas is currently underwater, due to massive flooding caused by Tropical Storm Imelda this week. One of the 10 wettest storms in the nation's history, up to 40 inches of rain have already been blamed for two deaths and the flooding of hundreds of homes.
As residents seek to recover from the damages, many will rely on FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program — assuming it is operational. While the program is funded through the end of September, Congress has yet to pass a spending bill for the 2020 financial year, which begins October 1.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4378, a short-term spending bill that included an extension for the flood insurance program. It passed by a relatively bipartisan supermajority, 301-123.
But among those voting against keeping the government open and the National Flood Insurance Program were four Texas congressmen whose districts are currently experiencing widespread flooding.
Rep. Randy Weber (R), represents the 14th Congressional District. It includes the city of Beaumont, one of the areas hit hardest. Still, he voted no on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Weber said in an email that the Congressman felt "the weight of bad provisions in the C.R. was too overwhelming to justify a YES vote, for the sole purpose of extending NFIP, which is very important to the 14th Congressional District of Texas."
Fellow GOP Reps. Brian Babin, Dan Crenshaw, and Pete Olson also saw significant flooding in their districts. All three also voted no; none immediately responded to a request for comment on why they voted against their own constituents' interests.
A Texas Democratic Party spokesperson said, "Americans have lost everything to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and wildfires. Texans still don’t have homes to live in. They need this funding to put their lives back together. There is no justification for Republicans voting against these disaster relief funds."
Elisa Cardnell, a Democrat challenging Crenshaw in 2020 in the Texas 2nd Congressional District, lambasted the incumbent for his vote.
"While half of Houston was underwater, Dan Crenshaw voted against a bipartisan budget bill that would have reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program," she said in a statement.
"This is not the common sense, country over party leadership voters in TX02 deserve. Houstonians deserve a representative who knows what it's like to see the water reach your doorstep, and will fight to make sure it never happens again."
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Josh Israel.