State Watch

NY public officials criticize DeSantis for voting against Hurricane Sandy relief

As Hurricane Ian pummeled Florida on Wednesday, several public officials from New York criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for voting against federal aid for Hurricane Sandy when he was a congressman.

“Just a reminder to New York … Marco Rubio and Ron DeSantis (who was in Congress at the time) voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy,” Yuh-Line Niou, a member of the New York state assembly, said on Twitter. “But because we are New York, we care about everyone. Even when they don’t care about us.”

Newly elected to Congress in 2013, DeSantis voted against a federal relief package for New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Sandy hit the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states in late 2012, killing more than 100 Americans. 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also voted against the hurricane relief in 2013, as Tristan Snell, a former assistant attorney general for New York, noted.

“Marco Rubio voted against federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy — because it mostly affected the ‘blue’ states of New Jersey and New York,” Snell wrote in a tweet. “I fully support whatever federal aid is needed for Florida for Hurricane Ian — because it affects America.”

Republicans at the time of the vote in the House had argued the measure was costly and should be offset with other spending cuts. The final House vote was 241-180, with 179 of the “no” votes coming from the GOP.

It led to sore feelings at the time from lawmakers serving the region at that time.

“It is unfortunate that we had to fight so hard to be treated the same as every other state has been treated,” former Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told The New York Times in January 2013.

Since the fight, there has been criticism of GOP lawmakers who have pressed for aid for their states because of their votes against the Sandy aid.

After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas hard in 2017, for example, some Democrats from New York and New Jersey took shots at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other Republicans from the Lone Star State who had opposed the Sandy legislation.

DeSantis asked President Biden on Wednesday to approve a major disaster declaration over Hurricane Ian and to cover the costs of debris removal and emergency protective services for the first 60 days after the hurricane. Biden covered similar costs for Kentucky after it faced devastating floods earlier this year.

However, Snell pointed to the discrepancy between DeSantis’s relief request and his voting record, urging Floridians to elect new leaders in the upcoming midterm elections.

“Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio voted against help for the victims of Hurricane Sandy,” he added on Thursday. “What absolute hypocrites. Florida should get all the help it needs, but Florida also deserves better leaders.”

DeSantis, who is seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has ratcheted up his rivalry with the Biden administration in recent weeks. The Florida governor flew a group of Texas migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., earlier this month, joining other Republican governors in protesting Biden’s immigration policies.

However, DeSantis and Biden appeared to put aside their political differences this week, as they responded to Hurricane Ian.

Tags Biden Florida Hurricane Ian Hurricane Sandy Joe Biden Marco Rubio Marco Rubio Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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