Nashville’s Jim Cooper was the only Democratic congressman to vote against $51 billion in aid for the states affected by Hurricane Sandy. A majority of Republicans, including Tennessee’s GOP representatives, also voted against it. Cooper says he couldn’t support the bill, because it would add to federal spending at a time when the country is about to hit the debt ceiling.
“You know, these were fine people and they were hammered by the hurricane and that’s a terrible thing. We need to help them. It’s an American responsibility to help them. But it’s also an American responsibility to have a solvent nation, not a bankrupt nation.”
Cooper defended his no vote by pointing to an editorial in today’s Washington Post, which criticized the aid bill for containing unrelated projects. He also supported an unsuccessful Republican amendment to the legislation, which would’ve offset the extra spending with cuts to other programs.
Cooper did vote for an earlier round of aid for Sandy victims. In that case, he says Congress tried to find ways to pay for the emergency spending.