Flashback: Ted Cruz voted against $52.6 billion in relief for states that weren't Texas

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The embattled senator begged President Joe Biden to help Texas with its latest disaster this week.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is facing criticism and calls for resignation after he fled his home state during a deadly winter storm for a luxury vacation in Mexico. But even the little he has done to help with the crisis demonstrates his hypocrisy — backing federal relief for Texans after opposing tens of billions in emergency aid for other states.

Before catching a Wednesday flight to Cancun and checking into the Ritz-Carlton resort, Cruz and fellow GOP Texas Sen. John Cornyn fired off a letter to President Joe Biden pleading for emergency help.

"The Governor and local officials have informed us that the severity and magnitude of the storm is beyond the response capabilities of the state and local government. Prolonged sub-freezing temperatures, strained energy capacity, and treacherous roadways are just a few of the current dangers faced by all Texans," they wrote on Sunday, noting the already widespread loss of power and water distribution problems. The pair asked Biden to approve a disaster declaration and to provide direct federal aid to all 254 Texas counties.

Biden quickly approved the request and sent generators and other supplies to the state. Cruz and his family departed for vacation as dozens of Texans died from the winter storms, millions lost power, many were left with no heat or water, and dwindling food supplies caused empty grocery stores.

His latest request for federal emergency aid is a reminder of his hypocritical record on relief spending. During his time in the Senate, he has repeatedly voted against supplemental emergency relief legislation after natural disasters in other states.

According to a Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis, the Senate passed five bipartisan supplemental disaster assistance appropriations between when Cruz took office in 2013 and when President Barack Obama left office in 2017. The Texas Republican voted against all five.

These bills contained a total of $52.6 billion in disaster relief funds.

Cruz decried the largest of the five, a 2013 relief bill in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as "unrelated pork." Fact-checkers debunked his claim that "two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy."

Two years later, he requested federal disaster relief after floods in Texas. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), whose constituents bore much of Sandy's damage, accused him of "hypocrisy," complaining in June 2015, "We have Senator Cruz — who voted against Sandy relief — now he says he's got floods in Texas. He says 'Hey, we need some help down here in Texas.' It's great, right?"

When Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas in 2017, Cruz again backed federal aid for his state and opined, "Hurricane relief and disaster relief has been a vital federal role for a long, long time and it should continue."

Asked at the time about his earlier votes against helping others, he answered, "There's time for political sniping later."

Once Donald Trump took office, Cruz suddenly started voted for relief legislation. Between 2017 and 2020, he voted for four supplemental disaster appropriations and backed a fifth (but missed the vote).

A Cruz spokesperson did not respond immediately to an inquiry for this story.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.