House members cleared a bill releasing $50.7 billion in funds for relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, but with hardly any help from the Tennessee delegation.
The final 228-192 vote found the entirety of the state’s Republicans opposing the measure, along with 5th District Rep. Jim Cooper-the lone Democrat in the country to oppose the legislation. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from the 9th District, was the only member from Tennessee to support the bill.
Aside from Cooper’s dissent, the vote exposed a rift among Republican ranks, as 49 GOP members voted in favor of the bill, with 179 of their colleagues opposing. Two weeks ago, the House passed a $9.7 billion package geared toward Sandy relief, with two Republican members from Tennessee supporting.
One of the members was Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who said through a spokesman that he supported the bill because of earlier requests for federal assistance made in the wake of tornado outbreaks in 2011 and 2012. Following the vote Tuesday, Fleischmann’s office declined a request to comment on the vote.
Earlier in the day, the congressman told Nooga.com he and members of his staff were reviewing the bill.
“It’s legislation in progress,” Fleischmann said. “My staff and I are looking at the bills and the amendments, which are very complex and lengthy.”
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, whose office did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday’s vote, opposed the earlier vote on Sandy relief, citing that it did not offset enough government spending to gain his support. Earlier on Tuesday, Republicans attempted to offset a portion of the bill with a 1.63 percent across-the-board cut on current spending, which failed, according to a Politico report.
The Senate is expected to take up the House bill in the coming days, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.