While other NJ congressmen have been united in seeking federal relief for Hurricane Sandy, Rep. Scott Garrett’s approach has combined disinterest with vacillation, bickering and pettiness.
On his website Garrett’s most recent statement of November 7 after the election, made no reference to Hurricane Sandy. Instead it was a retread of his mantra: “As I traveled to towns across the district, it became clear to me that people were united in their desire for more jobs, less debt, and lower taxes.” A strange comment to make while constituents are in shelters, darkened homes, flooded basements, and unable to go to work.
His only website statement on Sandy appeared on November 5 when he said, “It is important that Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren Counties have the necessary support to get back on their feet.” Hardly a ringing endorsement for federal funding. On November 3 he had sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting him to expand his request to FEMA for individual and public assistance to include Sussex, Passaic and Warren counties. However, on November 5 he refused to join all other members of the NJ congressional contingent and decided not to sign a letter urging House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to work to build “strong, bipartisan support” for disaster aid.
He has opposed such aid on several occasions. He voted against relief for Hurricane Katrina, and he also pressed Boehner last year to ensure that increased funding for relief from Hurricane Irene be offset by cuts to the budget elsewhere.
On November 30 he took a different tack and joined his colleagues in a letter to President Obama which stated: “We all agree that a swift official request and appropriation of this funding is critical to our state’s recovery.”
So he agreed to urge the President to request an appropriation, however, he continues to be quarrelsome, petty, and undecided. After Obama submitted the request to congress, Garret indicated he is concerned about accountability for wasteful spending but has not taken a position on the federal aid package. In a conversation with CNBC’s host Jim Cramer (a NJ resident),
Garrett, suggested that he might deny his home state these much-needed funds, claiming he is concerned about “accountability” for “wasteful spending.” When Cramer asked Garrett, “But if New Jersey doesn’t get that spending, even if it’s a little bit wasteful for heaven’s sakes, we’re really going to be hurt.” Garrett’s response was “One person’s stimulus is another person’s wasteful spending.”
This person misrepresents the interests of his constituents in CD 5. It is never too early to seek a worthy challenger in this Congressional District which following re-apportionment is only minimally leaning Republican.