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Chris Christie slams Ted Cruz over hurricane relief, Cruz responds

Ted Cruz on hurricane funding
Ted Cruz on Hurricane Harvey, Sandy disaster relief funding 09:10

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took Texas Senator Ted Cruz to task over his lack of support of funding relief packages in the wake of Hurricane Sandy as the debate over providing aid to Hurricane Harvey victims continues. 

Christie, appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday, criticized Cruz for his recent pleas for disaster relief funding in his home state of Texas, despite Cruz's track record of having voted against a Sandy relief bill in 2012, a move Christie slammed as "disgraceful."

"He talks about playing politics -- that's what he did with people's lives in 2012 and 2013. He was trying to play politics to make it look like he was the most conservative guy in town," Christie said on Tuesday. 

During his own MSNBC appearance Tuesday, Cruz repeated a claim he's made that two-thirds of the bill had nothing to do with Sandy and instead was filed with "unrelated pork," which Christie strongly disputed. 

"Almost all of the spending in the 50 billion dollar bill was for New York and New Jersey and some of the other areas that got affected by Sandy for hurricane relief," Christie said. "He knows it. The worst thing about it -- and this is why politics has got so cynical in Washington -- is statements like that. He should just stand up and say, 'You know what? I was wrong, I was wrong in 2012, It was the wrong thing to do and I hope that the people of New Jersey and New York are willing to let bygones be bygones and vote for relief for Texas,'" Christie added. 

Meanwhile, on an appearance on Fox News, Cruz responded directly to Christie's claims, saying the focus should remain on the people who are impacted by the storm. 

"I'm sorry that there are politicians who seem really desperate to have their name in the news and saying whatever they need to, to do that," said Cruz. 

Sen. Ted Cruz says Houston currently focused on "preservation of life" 04:10

Cruz, speaking from Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center acknowledged during an interview with CBS News on Wednesday that FEMA funding for Texas relief will incur massive costs in terms of damage, amid what he referred to as "political sniping" over Hurricane Sandy funding. 

"Every Texas Republican in Congress supported giving aid to the people of Sandy, to the victims of Sandy, all of us spoke out enthusiastically in support if it," said Cruz of the relief bill, which he says "got loaded up with 70 percent" of  non-emergency aid.

In regards to Congress' future plans for Texas relief, Cruz said "federal formulas lay out what that compensation will be, and I'm confident we'll see Republicans and Democrats coming together to draft a bill."

Cruz told CBS that he would help lead an effort with fellow Texas Senator John Cornyn, "following federal laws and statutes," to craft a relief bill that provides "very significant resources" for storm victims. 

"We are going to craft a bill that is dedicated to repairing the damage from Harvey, that's dedicated to the victims of Harvey," he said. "That's the focus and what we should do." 

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