A few days later, Republicans overwhelmingly opposed legislation to speed $50 billion in emergency relief to victims of Superstorm Sandy without making offsetting cuts elsewhere in the budget.
The bill passed on the strength of Democratic votes. Republicans, a party centered in the South, split along geographical as well as ideological lines as representatives from the storm-affected Northeastern states pleaded for solidarity.
"To my colleagues from states who have had disasters, some recently, who have decided that we need to change the rules of the game, shame on you," said Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J. "A new caucus should be formed. ... It should be the 'Hypocritical Caucus' because when you wanted the money five minutes before the storm was over, you didn't have any hesitation coming to us."
He then warned the tea party's deficit hawks they may as well try to change Mother Nature.
"Florida, good luck with no more hurricanes. California, congratulations. Did you get rid of the (San) Andreas Fault," he said of an earthquake region. "Mississippi's in a drought. Do you think you're never going to have a flood again? Who are you going to come to when you need these things?"
EDITOR'S NOTE — David Espo is chief congressional correspondent for The Associated Press.
An AP News Analysis
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