Three hardline members of Congress–Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ)–raised eyebrows today after they voted against a popular aid package that would help Americans who were devastated by the carnage of Hurricane Harvey.
“Congress should provide disaster relief funding, and we should pay for it now instead of billing our children and grandchildren for it,” Amash said in a tweet, making it clear that he isn’t against helping the needy but wants to do so in a responsible manner. Massie and Biggs have not released public statements regarding their votes at the present time.
The package came out to $7.85 billion in total including $7.4 billion for a Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and $450,000 for a Small Business Administration disaster loan program. Tens of billions more in aid are expected to be sent in the months to come, with rumors circulating that future Harvey aid could be tied to a debt ceiling increase during future proceedings.
“As Congress moves forward, it is our responsibility to keep Hurricane Harvey relief on a safe, reliable track to passage. We should quickly pass a bill to assist victims with no add-on’s, no pork spending, and no attachments to gain leverage over separate issues,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said in a Washington Examiner op-ed Wednesday.
Meadows voted for today’s aid bill, but is expected to vote against anything that combines Harvey aid with fiscally imprudent legislation such as the debt ceiling increase. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) insisted that he would not play politics while Americans suffer from national disasters, but the Chamber of Commerce Republican from Janesville is not exactly known for keeping his word.
Amash and Biggs are fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group consisting of staunch conservatives. The caucus made national news earlier this year by opposing Trump’s healthcare agenda, a manuever that frustrated the young president. Massie is not a member, but often finds himself fighting the same battles as the Freedom Caucus in their monumental struggle for liberty amidst the corrupt swamp.