Friday, August 26, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.
Miami may have avoided Hurricane Irene, but its not a bad idea to watch how the Feds respond to hurricane disaster, considering we never know how soon we'll be the next seeking help.
So maybe we should be a little worried that Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority leader, is trying to extend this summer's budget and debt ceiling debacle, by saying he doesn't want to see any money go to help potential victims of Hurricane Irene unless Democrats agree to more spending cuts. A new low in American politics: using natural disasters as a bargaining chip.
"We aren't going to speculate on damage before it happens, period," Cantor's spokesperson Laena Fallon emailed to Talking Points Memo
. "But, as you know, Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts."
As of yesterday, Bloomberg news was reporting
that Hurricane Irene could cause about $13.9 billion worth of damage. Adjusted for inflation, that would make it the ninth costliest Hurricane of all time. It's not quite Katrina or Andrew (or even Wilma), but it could still be serious.
TPM points out though that Fallon used the term "ought to," and not "must." Yet, we know how broken down our congress is right now. Look how long it took them to reach deals to avoid hitting the debt limit and shutting down the government. That kind of time isn't available during a natural disaster, and its ridiculous Cantor is suggesting he won't help Hurricane victims unless even more spending cuts are made.
Considering the storm could affect America's financial capitol, New York City, the economic effects of a disaster could be far worse than a little bit of extra Government spending.
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