Speaking on the Senate floor Friday afternoon in favor of a Sandy aid package, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) claimed that Hurricane Katrina was “nothing in comparison” Superstorm Sandy.
In the remarks, Reid pointed out that its taken months to pass relief measures for the residents of New York and New Jersey who were affected by Sandy, whereas it only took two days to get to Katrina aid to people Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
“The people of New Orleans and that area, they were hurt but nothing in comparison to what happened to the people in New York and New Jersey,” Reid said. “Almost 1 million people have lost their homes.”
Reid’s remarks Friday were not just insensitive to the victims of Hurricane Katrina – some of whom are still struggling to recoup costs seven years later – they were factually inaccurate. Hurricane Sandy, which was downgraded to a Superstorm, killed 125 people. Hurricane Katrina killed 1,833. The estimated cost of damages in the Northeast is also half as much as those associated with Hurricane Katrina.
The Majority Leader is known as somewhat of a loose cannon, and has made a number of controversial statements during his time in office. Last year Reid repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that GOP presidential nominee and fellow Morman Mitt Romney had not paid taxes for 10 years. The Nevada Senator never did provide evidence to back that up, and nothing in Romney’s background suggests that Reid’s claims had any basis in reality.
Despite Reid’s flub on the Senate floor, the $9.7 billion legislation to provide flood insurance assistance passed without a hitch in the Senate and the House and President Obama signed the bill into law Sunday morning.
UPDATE: Reid apologized for his incorrect statement Monday. “I simply misspoke,” he said.