Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) (R) speaks while flanked bySen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) (L) during a news conference on Capitol Hill on October 7, 2009 in Washington DC. / Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Updated 3:05 pm E.T.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La, took to Twitter to slam Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for comments he made comparing Hurricane Katrina victims to superstorm Sandy victims.
"Sadly, Harry Reid has again revealed himself to be an idiot, this time gravely insulting Gulf Coast residents," Vitter wrote today.
He's referring to comments Reid made on the floor of the Senate Friday where expressed disbelief for how long it took for Congress to approve federal disaster relief for New York and New Jersey. He said the people affected by Katrina in 2005 were impacted, "but nothing in comparison" to those impacted by Sandy. Katrina killed over 1,800 people and caused $145 billion in damage; 120 died after Sandy hit and the storm caused an estimated $80 billion in damage.
"The people of New Orleans and that part, they were hurt, but nothing in comparison to what's happened to the people in [New York and New Jersey]. Almost a million people lost their homes. That's homes, not people in their homes," Reid said.
After Vitter's rebuke of Reid on social media, Reid put out a statement saying he "misspoke."
"I simply misspoke," he said. "I have worked hard with Senator [Mary] Landrieu [D-La.] 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."
Affected states have been pleading for federal assistance for more than two months, but the federal government has been slow to act because of opposition in the House over the high price tag. Reid noted that the federal government responded "within days" with federal aid for Katrina-disaster areas.
Congress did pass $9.7 billion in Sandy aid Friday as its last action before leaving town for more than a week, and one of the first actions of the new 113th Congress. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, promised an additional $50 billion in aid once the House returns next week.
On his Facebook page, Vitter reiterated his sentiment, but added, "And by most any measure, Katrina was our worst natural disaster in history."