0715FLORES

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores

Rep. Bill Flores said he voted with other Republicans against a $50.7 billion emergency relief bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy because the bill was “laden with pork” and nonessential spending.

The bill passed the House late Tuesday without support from most Republicans.

Flores, R-Bryan, earlier this month also voted against a bill to pay flood insurance claims from the storm.

“It was too large,” Flores said about the latest bill Wednesday. “It does more than meet the immediate needs of Sandy victims.”

Flores, whose district includes Waco, said he could have supported an earlier version of the bill with $17 billion in aid if it had been offset by federal spending reductions.

A conservative-backed effort to balance the bill’s cost with cuts elsewhere in the budget failed on a 258-162 vote, the Associated Press reported.

Flores succeeded in adding an amendment to the adopted bill that stripped $150 million for regional ocean partnership grants, an initiative by President Barack Obama focused on coordinating management of the ocean and coastal areas.

“The president did it through executive order but doesn’t have constitutional authority to do so,” Flores said. “He was trying to find a way to get money for it.”

The final bill passed the House, 241-180, with 192 Democrats and 49 Republicans supporting it.

Houston Rep. John Culberson was the only Texas Republican to vote for the bill.

Culberson explained his vote in a statement on his website Wednesday, saying victims in the Northeast had waited long enough for aid.

“I strongly opposed the $60.4 billion bill that the Senate passed late last year because it contained projects completely unrelated to Hurricane Sandy,” Culberson said in the statement.

“The House-passed bill that I supported is specifically limited to compensating victims of Hurricane Sandy and strengthening weather monitoring and forecasting.”

The Senate was expected to consider the bill next week.

Flores was one of 67 dissenters Jan. 4 when the House overwhelmingly passed the $9.7 billion flood insurance bill, which the Senate later passed and Obama signed into law.

Flores has said he opposed that measure because the federal government failed to adopt needed flood insurance program reforms.

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