Route 112, washed out during Hurricane Irene in Halifax, Vermont (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
: "[T]he Federal Emergency Management Agency is running out of money and finds itself operating in a new political and fiscal climate that may be as treacherous as some of the disasters to which it must respond." The agency's critical "disaster-relief fund, used to reimburse local governments and individuals for the costs of cleanup and repairs, is running dangerously low." It's been a disaster-laden year, and money is already having to be diverted from relief for this year's devastating tornadoes to respond to Irene.
Right on schedule, Majority Leader Eric Cantor tells us no disaster relief without spending cuts. Where does he want those cuts to come from? Unbelievably, by slashing "disaster relief funding as part of the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, which contains massive cuts to FEMA and first responders." That's stealing from FEMA and DHS in the future to pay for the current disasters.
So three cheers for White House press secretary Jay Carney for blasting Cantor. Much more of this from the White House, please.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Carney said the federal government’s priority should be to respond to the disaster. He also noted that Cantor (R-Va.) hadn’t demanded offsets when the Bush administration rang up “unprecedented bills.”
“I guess I can’t help but say that I wish that commitment to looking for offsets had been held by the House majority leader and others, say, during the previous administration when they ran up unprecedented bills and never paid for them,” Carney said, according to a White House pool report.
This is a fight President Obama can win, particularly with the entire east coast which is still cleaning up, and New Jersey and Vermont which are still in the middle of the disaster. Particularly when you consider who Cantor's allies in this fight are. Yes, Fox News dragged out horse judge Mike "Heckuva Job Brownie" to tell us Cantor is absolutely right. With opposition that pathetic, Democrats shouldn't be afraid to make this one a fight.