Reid: 'Misspoke' when comparing Sandy, Katrina
January 7th, 2013
04:29 PM ET
9 years ago

Reid: 'Misspoke' when comparing Sandy, Katrina

(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged Monday he "simply misspoke" when comparing the devastation left behind Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm which pounded the Gulf Coast, and Superstorm Sandy.

"In my recent comments criticizing House Republicans for threatening to betray Congress' tradition of providing aid to disaster victims in a timely fashion regardless of region, I simply misspoke," he said in a statement.

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On Friday - the first full day of the new Congress - Reid said on the Senate floor that "it's too bad that it's taking so long" to approve an aid package for the East Coast states impacted by the storm.

"When we had that devastating Katrina, we were there within days taking care of Mississippi, Alabama, and especially Louisiana. Within days," Reid said. "We are now past two months with the people of New York. And the people of New Orleans and that area - they were hurt, but nothing in comparison to what has happened to the people of New England."

Katrina was responsible for 1,833 deaths and Sandy claimed at least 113 lives in the U.S.

The Senate had approved a $60.4 billion relief packagefor Sandy victims a week earlier, but because House Speaker John Boehner did not call for a vote on the measure in the House, the legislative process had to start over in the new Congress, which took office Thursday. Members from the affected states said they had been promised a vote, but it was ultimately scrapped as Congress wrangled over the fiscal cliff.

The measure which passed the new Congress and which Obama signed into law amounted to $9.7 billion in aid, primarily to fund the federal government's flood insurance program.

Congress will consider a larger $51 billion package later this month, but some members are concerned it contains unnecessary, "pork" spending.

Both storms were expensive, and at the time Katrina was said to be the "costliest hurricane in U.S. history." The Federal Emergency Management Agency put the bill for Katrina at $180 billion.

The federal flood insurance program paid out $16.1 billion in claims.

Repair estimates from the governors of New York and New Jersey, the two states hit hardest by Sandy, are nearly $80 billion, well above some experts' early estimates of $30 to $50 billion.

Reid pointed to displacement figures as evidence of Sandy's wrath, referring to the states as part of New England.

"Almost a million people lost their homes," he said. "That's homes not people in those homes. So I think it's just really unfortunate that we don't have the relief for New Jersey and the rest of New England already. "

The remainder of Reid's statement on Monday, which he did not describe as an apology, touted his own efforts on storm relief: "I am proud to have been an advocate for disaster victims in the face of Republican foot-dragging, from Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy, from fires in the west to tornadoes in the Midwest. I have worked hard with Senator [Mary] Landrieu [D-Louisiana] to ensure that the people of the Gulf Coast have the resources they need to fully recover, and I will continue to advocate on their behalf until the region is fully recovered."

- CNN Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report

Filed under: Harry Reid • New Jersey • New York
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Wilson

    Of course he "mispoke." He will get a free pass for such outrageous lies, he always does.

    January 7, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    The gop communist party before people is a national disgrace and a world joke and laughing stock .2013 will be your last year in power !!!!!

    January 7, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. J sylvia

    Harry Reid has lost his mind and should be retired, but somehow out of their mind Politicians just continue to get re-elected they have enough money to run hate Campaigns to scare people into voting for them.

    January 7, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Orlando Resident

    "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged Monday he "simply misspoke" when comparing the devastation left behind Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm which pounded the Gulf Coast, and Superstorm Sandy. "

    We here in Florida were hit by EIGHT (8) hurricanes in a 14-month period over the 2004-2005 hurricane season. Some of the storms were up to Category 3 and 4 in intensity. Did you ever hear about any of us whining about it?

    January 7, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. petemg

    Too old to serve?

    January 7, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Meh. Much ado about nothing. When you have 67 Teatrolls like Palazzo voting against ANY aid for Sandy victims, despite having DEMANDED aid for Katrina and Isaac victims in their own districts, Reid flubbing a point he was trying to make is a pretty petty thing to pick on. Of course, CNN opted to do a story on the latter but is flat out avoiding reporting on just how hypocritical the red-state southern and gulf coast Republicans truly are who voted against Sandy aid.

    January 7, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. David - Independent

    The picture of Reid that CNN is showing suggests he is a dithering old fool. Are you trying to tell us something with that photo.

    January 7, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. PaulCat

    Vote all GOP's out of office. Amen to that !

    January 7, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. DC Observer

    Memo to President Obama - We, the American people, simply misspoke when we voted for you on November 6th. We meant to vote for the other guy. Please go home now so we can save this nation.

    January 7, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Babyboomer

    I think that everyone should stay away from comparing Hurricane Katrina to any other "National" disaster in this country for a long, long time. Including Harry Reid. However, in both cases our government has behaved disgracefully. With Katrina it was our President and FEMA and for Sandy it is our House of Reps. Does anyone see the common thread here???

    January 7, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Future

    The democrats have given away the entire wealth of this nation an indebted it to foreigners for the next 50 years at least. They expect the govt to pay for everything with absolutely no respect to the taxpayers who work for a living. They are the maggots of this nation

    January 7, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. DC Observer

    Harry Reid misspoke and Barack Obama was just kidding when he voted against raising the debt ceiling for President Bush - and Tim Geithner just did not understand how to use Turbo Tax for Kids - so Obama put him on charge of Treasury and the IRS. And Hillary never got the memo asking for some security in Benghazi.

    January 7, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    He did't mispeak and thanks to the weather channel changing a hurricane into a super storm has made everything harder.
    Not all storms are the same but you still have homes and people affected by them.
    The rethugs are against anything not them (white, old and bible crazy) which leaves a LOT of people not them (thank goodness). That's what it all comes down to with these fools.

    January 7, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Gonzo

    This is the only person in the Senate who makes Nancy Pelosi look intelligent!! Enough said.

    January 7, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. Jake Cohan

    "Repair estimates from the governors of New York and New Jersey, the two states hit hardest by Sandy, are nearly $80 billion, well above some experts' early estimates of $30 to $50 billion."

    This would not be the first time someone from New York or New Jersey had padded the bill on a damage claim.

    January 7, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. judy

    what a bunch of nimrods to make a big deal about this. Instead they should have helped sandy victims and not screwed around for ever with the fiscal cliff. Now the stupid repos are busy complaining about cabinet choices that where just fine only two months ago . They use to praise hagel and plenty of video tape to show these clowns singing his praise now because he was appointed by this president he is awful according to them. Two faced lying trolls. Tired of their childish games. Grow up GOP you lost .

    January 7, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yes you factually misspoke. Over 1000 deaths vs 113.
    But we know what you meant.
    Nobody balked at helping the Red states affected by Katrina, however with Blue NY and NJ it's been quite a different story.
    I am of the opinion, however, that the foot-dragging and downright blocking of funds is due just as much as to who is President as to the color of the electoral color of the states affected.

    January 7, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. northerstar

    He got one part right; Aid for Sandy is taking way too long. It is embarrasing. Aid for Katrina came in a timely manner. Aid for Sandy took 60 days.

    January 7, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. mark shiro

    does misspeak mean lie? i think that it does. i just love the vernacular of the 21st century.

    January 7, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. me

    reid is an idiot. if yyou have problems with the aid response look no further than your president. you all blamed bush for katrina, now bozo can ttake the heat for sandy

    January 7, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    @ Dominican Mama 4 Obama

    You wrote: News agencies are supposed to report ACCURATE news ...................
    You can not accuse them doing so unless you prove them wrong!
    You're right. I stand corrected. I should've just said that they have an obligation not to report fiction as though it were the truth. No matter whose mouth said ficiton falls out of. It is one thing to ACCURATELY report what someone has said, and quite another to not fulfill their obligation to their readers in exposing them to the FACTS side by side.

    January 7, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. jpmichigan

    If Mr. Reid and the Democrats really cared about the people affected by Sandy, why did they put all that Pork in the bill? Obama , Reid and the Democrats have to man up and take the blame for partial relief for Sandy. The House read the bill and decided not to pay for the DEMOCRATIC PORK!

    January 7, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. kayla

    he told the truth

    January 7, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. rob

    Hey Babyboomer...
    FEMA iis behaving disgracefully as it always does. The difference now is who is in the OVAL office, the media has lost interest in the victims of Sandy. Also President Obama has had the luxury of COMPETANT local and state leaders with which to work. President Bush on the other hand had the imbeciles in Louisiana. Both the state Govenor and the Mayor of New Orleans compounded the disaster with their complete incompetance, but the media was all too happy to blame Bush immediately and withhold the truth of the idiot local leaders.

    Its people like you Babyboomer who don't bother to look any further than what the Democrats and the liberal media want you to believe.

    January 7, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. don in albuquerque

    Uhhhh....Me. I guess you did not know that there is very little the prez can do about sending the money for disaster relief. He can declare it a disaster which he did, but it is up to congress to allocate the money. They have failed (as they always do when it comes to helping the people) to do so. Now who is the Bozo.

    January 7, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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