Why House Republicans don't like the Sandy bill

A revolt against their speaker

A home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of the Rockaways, Queens.
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

There are two reasons why House Republicans are playing petulant games with the Sandy aid bill. One is the public reason: FEMA still has enough emergency reserves through February, and there's plenty of time to pass a bill extending FEMA funding during the new session of Congress, which begins tomorrow. Okay.

The private reason, and the real reason, is that House Republicans were irate about the spending provisions in the "fiscal cliff" band-aid that was forced down their throat last night by Speaker John Boehner and probably indicated to him, at a late hour, that another spending bill was just not going to wash. Boehner depleted every ounce of credibility he had with his conference, which is decidedly more conservative and less responsive to political incentives for compromise than senators, by his plea for national unity. The Sandy bill was not very popular with House Republicans for a variety of reasons, including the money there for NASA, head start programs outside the affected areas, and museum roofs. The Club for Growth opposes the bill because of the pork, scoring it a "key vote."

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Marc Ambinder

Marc Ambinder is TheWeek.com's editor-at-large. He is the author, with D.B. Grady, of The Command and Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. Marc is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and GQ. Formerly, he served as White House correspondent for National Journal, chief political consultant for CBS News, and politics editor at The Atlantic. Marc is a 2001 graduate of Harvard. He is married to Michael Park, a corporate strategy consultant, and lives in Los Angeles.