Mississippi GOPer backtracks opposition to Sandy relief funding

Rep. Steven Palazzo faced backlash for opposing the aid after requesting it for his district in the wake of Katrina

By Jillian Rayfield
Published January 9, 2013 10:15PM (UTC)
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Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. (Facebook/Stevenpalazzo)

Though he voted against the first round of Hurricane Sandy relief aid, Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., says he has changed his position, following backlash over his 2005 request for federal aid for his own district, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

In a statement, Palazzo says he flipped after touring the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. "I was saddened to see the hard-hit portions of New Jersey and New York. I was reminded of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Mississippians have been through much of what the Sandy victims are experiencing," he said.


"Now is the time for the federal government to provide immediate relief to those affected by the storm," Palazzo continued. "I am fully committed to providing the relief they so desperately need."

In 2005, Palazzo, who was then the chief financial officer for the Biloxi Public Housing Authority, asked the federal government for more than $38.5 million in relief money after Hurricane Katrina.

Last week, Palazzo voted against a House bill to provide $9.7 billion in federal funding to FEMA for flood damage relief. It passed with 67 Republican "no" votes, including Palazzo.


The bill was one part of a larger aid package that the Senate had passed, and the House is expected to vote on the other $51 billion next week. Palazzo's flip means the bill still needs four more "yes" votes to pass.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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Fema House Republicans Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Sandy Steven Palazzo