7NEWS' Marshall Zelinger reports:
Hundreds of millions in emergency federal highway money will be coming to Colorado.
Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, told 7NEWS that the Colorado Congressional delegation was successful in getting the House Appropriations chairman to lift the $100 million Federal Highway Administration emergency relief funding cap.
"I'm excited that he's given us that promise to do that, to provide the emergency dollars that we need and get that statutory cap lifted as has been done in the past for other disasters," said Gardner…
As a number of liberal outlets including the nationally prominent ThinkProgress noted last week, Rep. Cory Gardner, along with the other three Republicans in Colorado's congressional delegation, voted against a bill funding reconstruction of areas affected by 2012's Hurricane Sandy. In this story, Gardner offers his explanation:
Gardner had already voted in favor of $17 billion in emergency aid for Superstorm Sandy. Before that bill was finalized, $33 billion in additional funds for pet projects were added to the Sandy bill. When Colorado's request was denied, Gardner voted against the emergency aid bill.
"I supported the Sandy package initially, and of course, when the secondary supplemental came through, I opposed it because they refused to put money for Colorado in it," said Gardner. "I was so frustrated this spring, when we had a chance to provide Coloradans disaster aid, just like we were to other parts of the country that had suffered, and of course, Colorado was treated differently."
The stripping of funds for Colorado flood mitigation–by Gardner's fellow House Republicans, don't forget–was a bipartisan sore point for our local representatives, but it didn't stop the Democrats in the Colorado delegation from voting for the final Sandy aid bill. Other Republicans like Rep. Doug Lamborn voted against the Sandy relief bill on ideological grounds that had little to do with provisions for local funding. With that said, the reality of Republican control of the House today means that Rep. Gardner, arguably the most influential Republican member of the Colorado delegation, is going to play a key role in obtaining federal aid for Colorado to recover from this disaster. The fact is, Colorado is likely going to need a comprehensive relief bill: not as many billions as was required for Hurricane Sandy, but Gardner has likely only delivered the first piece of what will ultimately be needed.
Bottom line: there is a justifiable and plain question of hypocrisy here, especially in the greater context of the fiscal debate in Washington. It is plainly hypocritical to vote against disaster relief for others, then expect it when you need it for your own constituents. In the larger debate over the role of government at all levels throughout America today, there are many such hypocrisies.
But for today, with Colorado citizens desperately in need, Gardner will be allowed to defer those hard questions.