When the offices of Republican House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor were asked if they would demand spending cuts in exchange for hurricane relief aid, they both refused to answer.
The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery reported,
Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring on Friday declined to say where Republicans would look to make cuts to pay for a potential storm aid package.
“We aren’t going to answer a hypothetical question about hypothetical federal aid caused by hypothetical damage,” Dayspring said. “If a request for federal aid is made, we’ll have a response. Until that time, we hope precautions are taken to minimize the damage caused by the storm.”
Cantor’s office also won’t comment on whether the lawmaker would require offsets for aid specifically tied to Hurricane Irene. And a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ducked the question altogether when asked if Boehner agreed with Cantor’s call for offsets for emergency aid.
“Our concern now is safety,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said Friday. “We’ll discuss costs when and if they occur.”
Never before have spending cuts been required before disaster relief is approved, but spending cuts had never been required to raise the debt ceiling and that didn’t stop House Republicans from creating a crisis that took the economy to the brink of destruction. The only reason for Boehner and Cantor to dodge the question is that they are considering requiring spending cuts in exchange for hurricane relief.
Cantor has a history of calling for offsets in exchange for federal disaster aid. After the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, Rep. Cantor said, “And also we see in the healing process that there is an appropriate federal role. Congress will find the money and it’ll be offset.” Interestingly, the same offset standard does not seem to apply to Cantor’s own district. After the recent earthquake that was centered in Cantor’s district, he promised that federal aid would be given, and did not mention a word about spending cut offsets.
There should not even be a discussion about the provision of disaster aid. Millions of taxpaying Americans are going to be impacted by this hurricane. Why do they pay taxes if they can’t count on their government to provide aid after a natural disaster? Our government has a duty to protect and aid its citizens, and those members of Congress who don’t wish to do their duty, are in my opinion violating their oath of office.
It is unfathomable that John Boehner and Eric Cantor would have to dodge questions about whether or not they are going to play politics with the victims of a hurricane. The fact that they would even consider politicizing disaster relief should prove to the American people that they are unfit for any leadership position in our government.