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Published: Saturday, 1/19/2013

Democrats say Latta, other Republicans turned backs on Sandy victims with no vote on aid

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Ohio Democrats on Wednesday criticized U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and other Ohio Republicans for their votes against a $50.5 billion bill to benefit the victims of superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, while Republicans stuck by their claim the bill should have been “paid for.”

“It’s a sad day when Ohio Republicans have become so extreme, so opposed to bipartisanship, that they actually have the nerve to vote to turn their backs against the victims of a disaster and leave the victims of Hurricane Sandy to fend for themselves,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said.

“For over two hundred years, our country has pulled together and supported each other in our darkest moments, but these 10 Ohio Republican Congressmen have such extreme views that they’ve forgotten that Americans look out for one another,” Mr. Redfern said.

The party distributed a copy of a 2008 letter signed by Mr. Latta and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana) asking President George W. Bush to declare an emergency for Ohio in the wake of Hurricane Ike. The remnants of the storm caused $1.25 billion in insured damage in Ohio, the top-most devastating storm in Ohio history in property losses, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute.

An emergency has been declared for the states affected by Sandy. The bill moving through Congress appropriates additional aid for the disaster, which caused about $82 billion damage in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

Latta spokesman Laura Strange said Mr. Latta did not vote for the Sandy aid package because it was not paid for. She said he voted for the Mulvaney amendment, which proposed spending cuts to offset the aid, but the amendment failed. She said Mr. Latta was not available for comment on the Sandy bill because he was going to a retreat for House Republicans.

In a statement provided by his office, Mr. Jordan said he agreed that communities affected by Sandy are in need of assistance but the bill did not offset the extra spending.

“If politicians cannot make the tough decisions and find something in the $3.8 trillion budget to cut that could offset needed disaster relief, they’ll never do the tough things and make spending cuts,” he said.

The final bill passed 241-180, with 49 Republicans voting for the measure. Ohio’s four Democratic congressmen, including U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, and one Ohio Republican voted yes. Southeastern Michigan U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R., Tipton) voted no.

Miss Kaptur told The Blade that she voted against the Mulvaney amendment because “it wasn’t well thought through. In the case of disasters, that isn’t the time for a big debate.”

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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