If, like me, you are without power two days after Hurricane Irene traversed your corner of the country, the article bleow from Politico has to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Budget Politics Cloud Hurricane Aid
Essentially, the anti-spending Republicans want to balance federal aid to states that were devastated by the storm with budget cuts elsewhere. From the article:
As flood waters gush through Brattleboro, Vt., roads in coastal North Carolina have crumbled and thousands of homes from Virginia to Connecticut remain without power, House Republicans say the money will be there, but they’ll still look to cut somewhere else if there’s a large request for federal aid.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s team (R-Va.) insists that “if emergency funding is requested, surely the House will respond appropriately at that time so that needed emergency funding is made available.”
But on Fox News earlier Monday, Cantor said, “There’s a federal role, yes we’re going to find the money, we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so.”
I am particularly amused by the "if" above, as, surely, the states will request massive amounts of aid in the days and weeks ahead. The problem is, where are the cuts going to come from? Here in New Jersey, Governor Christie famously canceled a rail tunnel project that would alleviate train delays and provide thousands of jobs in a dire economy. His reason was that the budget was so tight, the state couldn't afford it. Where, then, is there going to be money to pay for hurricane relief without the federal government's help? We will absolutely need aid and so will all of the states from North Carolina to the Canadian border (hmmm...can we use Canadian dollars?).
In the end, it will be good old fashioned politics that will win the day. As the article stses:
These spending principles are certain to run into political reality, as Irene could test the political viability of Republican orthodoxy as lawmakers try to weigh the emotional reaction to American communities in need while trying to stay true to their conservative fiscal ideals.
On top of that, the two senators from Missouri are moving to protect their turf, insisting that tornado ravaged Joplin — which is still awaiting federal aid — shouldn’t be bumped down the disaster list because of the urgency of Irene.
Woe unto the local politician that votes against any help for their constituents, or cuts a program that people need to pay for it. Theory might be wonderful for someone like Eric Cantor, but really, all I want is my power back on, and I don't want to ask someone from Missouri to go without in order to do it.