Watch: Ted Cruz and MSNBC host go at it after she attacks him as a hypocrite over storm relief bill
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) shut down MSNBC host who tried to pin him as hypocrite over 2013 hurricane relief bill. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Even though rain continues to displace and ruin the lives of thousands of Texans, MSNBC host Katy Tur made sure she attacked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with political questions during an interview Monday.

MSNBC host Tur pressed Senator Cruz on what she saw as a hypocritical stance toward hurricane relief funding as he spoke live from a Houston relief shelter.

Help in Houston and surrounding areas desperately needed

Ted Cruz and other Texas congressmen have asked the Trump and his administration to increase the amount of aide they are allotting to Texas. After all, local and state government officials can only do so much in the wake of the worst hurricane the Lone Star State has seen in decades, and the country has seen since Katrina.

But apparently according to MSNBC it’s hypocritical of Cruz to ask for more aide because he voted against a Hurricane Sandy relief bill in 2013, which was notoriously bloated with money that was not going directly to the storm’s victims.

The Tur and Cruz exchange

Tur questioned Cruz, “A lot of people are pointing out that you voted against aid for Sandy after that catastrophic storm up in the Northeast, that package back in 2012, and they’re pointing at you and saying you’re asking for money now when you weren’t willing to help the people in the Northeast. What do have you say to them?”

The Senator responded to the accusation saying, “You know, look, there’s time for political sniping later.”

Tur claims that it wasn’t political sniping and said Sandy victims equally needed the money that Cruz is seeking for Harvey’s victims.

“The accurate thing to say is that I and others enthusiastically and emphatically supported hurricane relief,” the Senator said. “The problem with that particular bill was that it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork.”

“Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy,” Senator Cruz explained. “It’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster when people are hurting to pay for their own political wish-list.”

Now the facts

Various media outlets portrayed the exchange as Tur cornering Ted Cruz for being a hypocrite. But is that necessarily correct? Not really.

A large chunk of Republicans on The Hill argued the same case in January 2013 that Senator Cruz did with Tur to explain why they killed the bill. They voted against it in large part because it wasn’t offset with spending cuts, meaning it would add to the budget deficit, and the recovery and relief money was massively spread out, the Washington Times reported.

In further proof, a Congressional Budget Office report said at the time that just 40 percent of the relief aid would be spent by February 2014 while just 80 percent would be spent by September 2017. But what about the remaining 20 percent? It was estimated to be spent by 2022 — nearly ten years after the storm.

A Washington Post article fact checked Cruz and gave him three of four Pinocchios for his claim, mostly centering on the fact that Senator Cruz said two-thirds of the Sandy relief bill was unrelated to the actual storm.

However, even the Washington Post slyly admits that much of the Sandy relief bill was not direct relief funding and would be strung out over a long period of time — and even that some of the funding was completely unrelated to Sandy.

With all of those facts in mind, Cruz’s claim is, for the most part, correct. Cruz’ s spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, later clarified the statement, to say that Cruz’s “two-thirds” comment was directed at the rate of the relief spending and not the individual expenditures.

“Sen. Cruz strongly supports this role of government, but emergency bills should not be used for non-emergency spending and that unfortunately is what made up nearly 70 percent of the $50.5 billion HR 152 bill,” Frazier told the Post.

(Relevant portion begins around 5:27 – Feel free to smash that fast forward button):