Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims he misspoke when he suggested during a Senate speech that the damage inflicted from Superstorm Sandy was worse than the damage that came from Hurricane Katrina, which decimated the area in and around New Orleans in 2005.
The Nevada Democrat issued the statement on Monday, saying that he “simply misspoke” in comments he made on Friday.
Yahoo! News reports that Reid criticized House Republicans on Friday for delaying action that would help provide relief to ailing areas of the Northeast, which are still struggling from the massive storm that hit last October.
Reid compared the two hurricanes with the response each has received from the government, claiming that the government responded within days to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina, while “we are now past two months with the people of New York.
He added that New Orleans residents “were hurt, but nothing in comparison to what’s happened to the people in New England,” noting that almost one million people lost their homes as a result of the massive storm some dubbed “Frankenstorm,” which came ashore in the final days of October 2012.
The Huffington Post notes that Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, were upset when House Republicans decided not to vote on the bill that would provide disaster relief for Sandy before their congressional session ended last week.
House GOP leaders did push through a bill on Thursday that approved $9.7 billion to help pay for flood insurance claims. Next week, the House will consider a broader $51 billion aid package.
Reid’s misspoken words on Friday drew sharp criticism from politicians and residents in the areas affected by Katrina, including Senator David Vitter (R-LA). Vitter stated that “sadly, Harry Reid has again revealed himself to be an idiot, this time gravely insulting Gulf Coast residents.”
Vitter went on to cite figures from the National Hurricane Center, which showed that Hurricane Katrina was by far worse in damage and death toll than Superstorm Sandy.
Along with saying that he misspoke, Harry Reid added in his statement that he was “proud to have been an advocate for disaster victims in the face of Republican foot-dragging.” He added that he worked with Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu (Democrat) to make sure the people living on the Gulf Coast had enough resources to recover from Hurricane Katrina.