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Aronsohn: Rep. Garrett's Position on Sandy Aid 'Unconscionable'

The Ridgewood mayor – who lost to Congressman Scott Garrett in his 2006 congressional run – said Garrett needs to reverse his position and support President Obama's request for a $60 billion federal aid package.

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th) is failing the citizens of New Jersey by putting ideology over the needs of people still suffering through the devastation of Super Storm Sandy, Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn wrote in a scatching op-ed in The Record.

The Ridgewood mayor, who lost to Garrett in a race for the 5th district Congressional seat in 2006, hammered the conservative from Wantage for not supporting the $60 billion federal Sandy aid package request.

Garrett is the only federal lawmaker in the Garden State to not support the bundle of infrastructure upgrade requests made to Congress, expressing skepticism that accountability would be present or that the money would be spent effectively.

Garrett is nothing if not consistent. The conservative veteran of the House of Representatives also previously opposed the federal aid package for Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

"You remember all the stories about the FEMA trailers, about the credit, debit cards, whatever they were at that time, given out to people across the country, even if they were not in those areas," Garrett told CNBC's Jim Cramer last week. "I think the American public wants to make sure there is a level of accountability going into this sort of thing."

The Tea Party darling may also be on to something – the NY Post reported about $200 million in "pork" projects are now lumped into the overall aid package. The proposed spending includes new vehicles for the FBI, $150 million for Alaska fisheries, repairs to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, among other seemingly unrelated projects.

In his conversation with Cramer, the budget hawk also expressed apprehension in adding another $60.4 billion of debt to the $239 billion the country is already buried under.

To Aronsohn, the Congressman's position was "unconscionable," "indecent," and a "new low."

New Jersey suffered an estimated $40 billion damage. Hundreds of thousands of structures damaged or washed away. Boardwalks, beaches, roads, bridges and gas lines were demolished. Thousands are still displaced as Christmas approaches.

The money is needed, Aronsohn argues; there has been real loss, real suffering in New Jersey.

"This is unacceptable," Aronsohn, a Democrat, wrote of Garrett's position. "Action is needed now. The magnitude of the devastation has been great and widespread, ravaging communities and disrupting families throughout large sections of our state."

The Ridgewood mayor – whose town suffered an estimated $1.3 million in damage from Sandy – said there were moral and economic reasons to support the aid package.

"He needs to get on the same page with the governor, the rest of the New Jersey congressional delegation and the tens of thousands of New Jerseyans still struggling in the wake of our state’s worst storm," Aronsohn wrote in the op-ed. "Simply stated, Garrett needs to do the right thing."

Governor Chris Christie has been pressing Congress to "stop the bickering" and pass the legislation, though Senate Republican lawmakers hope to pare down the aid to $44 billion.

Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 12:14 AM
As Brian and I said above, Garrett has voted against the interests of his constituents because he has voted against there being a greater sum coming in then going out. Now if you feel that he made the right choice then you are not standing up for your interests, nor those of your neighbors. Rather, you are standing on principle as Scott Garrett has done. With regards to the question of right and wrong, I think that Scott Garrett's anti-government ideology is amongst the nuttiest to be found out there with regards to extremist "free market" fundamentalism. But that is another question. My point about what is problematic about Garrett's "no compromise" thinking has to do with there being a necessity for politicians who see things very differently from one another to find a middle ground, which often means giving up something or going along with something that you might not agree with in order to get something that you need. This is another case of the sort of obstructionism that will get nothing accomplished for anyone. In the name of not selling out on his principles, Garrett has sold out his constituency.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Rene, Garrett is an NRA darling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33l1mT_lI8Q http://www.ontheissues.org/NJ/Scott_Garrett_Gun_Control.htm
Rene December 22, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Wow Dan. I see you have been reading the DNC talking points Garrett was in office before the Tea Party came around, and I can make the leap you supported those idiots who Occupied Wallstreet. Not a Tea Party guy, but at least they do things without breaking the laws. Muskets, really. The Constitiution is a living document, give us a break. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Compromise??? You mean giving states that weren't hit by Sandy a "relief" package?
RidgewoodResident December 22, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Fortunately, you're wrong, and McDonald vs. Chicago guarantees me a right as an American to own a handgun for self-defense.
Glenn Hefferan December 22, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Do you really know what "Jef and George" would think? Do you think they would approve of the current tax rates? The wasteful spending? The $16 trillion in debt? The dependent society? Your argument is specious at best. "Only $200 million of bad stuff"??? And you're impressed. How about ZERO wasteful spending. Only $200 million? As for "trying to drag this country back into the 18th century" ... its divisive and unproductive comments. Should I assume you rather stick with the politicians that are dragging this country into a bankrupt socialist republic, with an ever growing dependent class? We have enough partisan, divisive rhetoric; isn't it time that we bring RESPECT and SOLUTIONS back into the debates?
Michael December 22, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Mr. Johnson, Firstly, get out a calculator and do some reading (http://www.taxpayer.net/library/article/brief-analysis-of-selected-provisions-in-proposed-senate-supplemental-appro). You will find that you exceed the "$200 million of bad stuff" by FOUR TIMES is p. 18 alone. Second, Garrett was a fiscal watchdog before the Tea Party even existed. If you remember, he was excoriated by his party's president and fellow members during their spending binge in the mid 2000's. Third, you need not bring the 2nd Amendment into this discussion. This bill for Sandy could have targeted areas that really need it. Democrats and Republicans jumped on the opportunity to obfuscate their pet projects into a disaster relief bill and is shameful. In my humble opinion, Garrett and other fiscal hawks are not looking to drag us back into the 18th century, as you state - they are trying to insure that we don't spend ourselves into extinction in the 21st.
Anonymous December 22, 2012 at 01:37 PM
WRONG! Senators: 6yrs. Reps: 2 yrs
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM
RidgewoodResident, Your view of "compromise" expresses my point exactly. When only one side keeps compromising and the other doesn't, only the stubborn side gets what they want. Hooray, what a great strategy! But when the other side figures out how that is working, then neither side will end up compromising and no one will get anything. In this case, that means no Sandy relief for New Jersey. And if you, like Scott Garrett, really feel that making a point of spite is more important then working together with others to get assistance for those who need it then I feel sorry for you. But I feel a lot more sorry for those who will not get what they need and deserve.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Right RidgewoodResident, and it thus subsequently guarantees your son a right to access your legal gun to shoot up twenty kids in a school somewhere. Something needs to be done about that.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Michael, It would have targeted the areas that really needed it if Garrett & co. hadn't axed it. That is the point. However any of us feel about ear marking in Washington, it can not make any sense to blame this longstanding practice, which is bipartisan and ubiquitous to legislation, as the raison d'etre for New Jersey not getting the aid that it needs. Scott Garrett's choosing of this moment to make a statement about the practice of ear marking, in general, is horrible timing. Worse, it can not succeed in effecting future earmarks and can only result, here, in funding not coming in for those who need it. it is the most reprehensible sort of grand standing.
Keith Jensen December 22, 2012 at 02:55 PM
$60.4Billion, not all because of Sandy according to the NYPost,“The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC. An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms. Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.” http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2012/12/18/Shame-on-Congress-for-Robbing-Hurricane-Sandy-Victims.aspx#page1 IF, you have an issue with Garrett, you'll love to read and comment on what Lonegan has to say (Lonegan ran for Governor and was Mayor of Bogota, his story should have been re-published in Ridgewood, shame for it not being carried, look at all the comments): http://redbank.patch.com/articles/americans-for-prosperity-60-billion-sandy-aid-package-a-disgrace
Glenn Hefferan December 22, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Does anyone wonder why its gets this bad.... do you really think name-calling and more castigating comments adds to the value of the debate? Angie has a good point... why are we asking for $60 billion, for $40 billion in damage? Also is the Democrat Mayor going to write a nasty op-ed when Harry Reid's democrat controlled Senate does its damage to the bill? Aronsohn's rant against Garrett was completely a bitter partisan attack. When you name-call, AND do so behind some obscure anonymous screen name, lacks ANY credibility. For all anyone knows, you could be the Mayor's wife. Let's get back to civil and HONEST debate.
Glenn Hefferan December 22, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Right on Michael!
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 04:05 PM
It is Garrett who voted against us.
Willard December 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Rene, Getting a lecture from the right on wasteful spending is insulting...I want my money back for the trillion plus pissed away in Iraq financed by the Chinese. Please spare us from lectures on wasteful spending. $200 million is a rounding error. Does Garrett vote against defense appropriations (there isn't $200 million in pork in that $600 billion annual budget?)? No he doesn't. So frankly, he is a hypocrite in every definition of the word.
milly December 22, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I stand corrected. My Ridgewood education in the 70's has failed me. Surprise there, we were number 2 in the state behind West Windsor and top 100 in country....
Legal Notice December 22, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Obama = Joesef Stalin
jp1 December 22, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Not too smart are we.
Rene December 22, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Willard, Insulting is the revisionist history that has been going on for the past few years and how the D's get away with always thinking they are the high and mighty moral ground of the country. Give me a break. Now you are spewing your talking points about wars that EVEERYONE in the Congress approved, but only Bush gets blamed for. We have not even SEEN A BUDGET in Four years from this administration, and our debt is out of sight. Keep your insults to yourself Willard. Merry Christmas.
Ridgewood Mom December 22, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Where did I name call, Glenn?
Willard December 22, 2012 at 10:02 PM
My Dear Rene, Some more "revisions": 1. Everyone didn't vote to go to war in Iraq...and that is a fact. 2. Did Mr. Garrett ever vote for a defense appropriation bill that included earmarks of any kind? He did...and that is a fact. 3. Your argument doesn't hold up...and yes, that is a fact. 4. People, towns, and business in our state need help from the devastation of Sandy, not the stalling rhetoric of a bunch of hypocrites...and that is a fact. 5. Oh, a couple of other facts...the earth is more than 10,000 years old, there is such a thing as global warming, and Big Bird is still on the air. 6. I am a registered Republican. Ah, now I am just screwing with you....Merry Christmas.
Ron Verdicchio December 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM
This is about one granstander criticizing another granstander. Garrett as pathetic as he is as a representative will have little to do with outcome in the House. This is all about the 2014 Congressional election.
paul smith December 23, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Hate to say it but the Sussex farmer(?) did have a point but as always, he is totally tonedeaf to his constituents, except for the Bergen County miscreants that voted for him (he had Sussex wrapped up). He did vote to declare a state of emergency, gotta give him credit there. In terms of the appropriations, when you look at the pork for Salmon fisheries, etc., okay, he had a point. The GOP 23 bil was for immediate relief and longer term measures would go thru a voting process. okay, cant argue too much with that. But, our elected representatives in DC need to ensure that the next steps (long term remediation) gets the funding it needs. If only our idiot reps in the capitol can get us more than 60 cents onthe buck we should get what we need. Let's see what garrett's brethren who are no more than red state welfare queens and general parasites do in terms of voting for the right appropriations.
Angie S. December 23, 2012 at 02:10 PM
So..the beef is that Garrett didn't bring home the bacon for his constituents? This is exactly the problem with our country. We only NEED $40+ B, not $60B. But lets get greedy and fill the requests w pork. Us against them, them agaist us. Everyone can continue to point fingers but since 2008, its different. We are in serious trouble, WE...all of us. Blame Bush but we are living in the now, and the mentality of spend, get, get, get and we'll deal with it later is going to leave us broke, blaming eachother and even more angry. How about doing the right thing. Put a bill together the first time for the intended means. Ask what you need for...it would pass and people would get it fast. NJ request for 1/3 mor than what is NEEDED is wrong.
Glenn Hefferan December 23, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Willard.... site your sources of all your facts please.
Matt M December 24, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Not surprised Garrett votes against his own constituents to satisfy the Tea Partiers, Garrett is a hardline ideologue who should be an embarrassment to all in this moderate region of the country. Mayor Aronsohn though we would miss you in Ridgewood, I sincerely hope you run against Garrett in 2014 and make him pay for this vote.
Glenn Hefferan December 24, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Nicely stated Angie.... but "its going to leave us broke"... we are broke, and not just financially.
Glenn Hefferan December 24, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Yes.... the politics of vindictiveness...yes, make him pay. Aronsohn is grandstanding, still licking his wounds from his previous run against Garrett. He has no business complaining about Garrett's vote on the issue; its pure politics. Maybe the Mayor's from Jersey Shore towns, Union Beach, Seaside, etc but its all politics and everyone knows Aronsohn is desperate for higher office. Personally, I hope he runs for something and wins... and get him out Ridgewood. He's made a mess of it; gutted every department but police and fire (he won't battle the unions) , then claims these departments can't get the worked done, then wants to outsource everything, all to build his base of campaign contributors.
Prentiss Gray January 02, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Garrett also voted against the bill passed yesterday to avoid the fiscal cliff. It's one thing to be a harsh critic, it's quite another to continually "throw the baby out with the bathwater." He certainly doesn't seem to be acting like and effective legislator, otherwise he wouldn't be letting his constituents be held hostage to a bunch of minor pork. I agree the extra funds requested are questionable, so pass the bill and start an investigation. Don't let people freeze because you "smell" a rat.

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