When Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) refused to allow the Senate crafted HR-1, "An Act making appropriations for the Department of Defense and the other departments and agencies of the Government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes.’’, otherwise known as the "Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill", to come up for a vote on the final day of the 112th Congress, liberals were quick to say that he was simply trying to score political points at the expense of the congressional delegations from Alaska, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. What? The Hurricane Sandy relief bill was about helping California? Louisiana? Florida? Of course it was; as it was crafted by the U.S. Senate, and the entire drafting process was controlled by the Democratic party.
In fact, the $60.4 billion dollar price tag for this bill was truly bloated in a way that only the most hard-core of liberals could really appreciate. $100 million dollars was set aside for the "Head Start" program, $140 million for fisheries in Alaska and the U.S. Gulf coast, an extra $10 million expense account for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and cancellation of repayment for loans made after Hurricane Katrina and all other natural disasters that have occurred since, as decided by President Obama ONLY (meaning that if you are not in one of his constituency groups, you do not qualify). Throw in another $5 million for the Kennedy Space Center, millions and millions in "overtime" and "extra pay and benefits" for civil servants, and $56.8 million to study how debris was distributed from the tsunami that struck Japan. Let's not forget the $47 million for land conservation programs, $44.5 million to upgrade NOAA's "hurricane hunter" aircraft, $4 million for the FBI, $1 million for the DEA, $230,000 for the ATF, $10 million for the federal prison system, $1 million for attorneys for "certain qualified" individuals in the disaster zones of both Hurricane Sandy and Isaac, $5.37 million for the U.S. Army, $40 million for the U.S. Navy, $8.5 million for the U.S. Air Force, and $3.16 million for the Coast Guard. Wait! That's not enough pork; we better add some more! How about $1.3 million in ammunition for the U.S. Army, another $3.4 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for projects in the Mississippi river corridor, as well as for projects and rebuilding work in Sandy-affected areas, $821 million for Corps of Engineers dredging projects nationwide, $40 million for Small Business Administration salaries, and $5 million for a new expense account at the Office of the Inspector General. Of all the pork in the "Hurricane Sandy relief" bill, the one that really disturbs me is the $300,000 appropriation for the U.S. Secret Service. Is that an after the fact campaign contribution from taxpayers to reimburse President Obama's re-election campaign coffers after his victory in the presidential election? Let's not forget that Hurricane Sandy struck right in the middle of the 2012 election campaign. More importantly, who were Democrats going to be targeting with the $1.3 million in ammunition for the U.S. Army: gun owners in the Hurricane Sandy impact zone?
Two of the more disturbing changes to federal law that were proposed in this legislation included the possibility that Sandy victims might be forced into a dispute resolution process controlled by the federal government and the insurance industry, with no right to appeal any of the decisions that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or any other federal agency might make, in regards to the payment of disaster claims, and the provision that requires any reconstruction efforts in not only the Sandy disaster area, but also after future disasters, where federal money is used in the rebuilding process, to make "mandated" provisions for "climate change". When you add in the provisions to provide free day care, free housing, and free healthcare to "certain qualified" individuals and families for 18 months, it simply means that most of the working families, who actually owned homes in the hard hit area of Staten Island, would never see these "benefits". In fact, what are the conditions to be "qualified" for the free day care? The Obama administration and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) are not saying.
When we start having Washington politicians put their lust for more money and more power ahead of everything else, while there are families on Staten Island who still have received no relief from Congress, and then decry those who stop them from completing their spending and power accumulation orgy, it truly does point to a serious disconnect between the Democratic leadership in the Senate and those who they claim they are standing up for. Are the residents of Staten Island clamoring for free day care? How about that $10 million "extra" expense account for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers? Would providing a statutory rebuilding requirement that included "climate change" actually result in better outcomes for those in the Hurricane Sandy impact zone? These questions, and many more, were raised after the legislation became publicly known.
Democrats in Congress and the President had absolutely no sympathy for the residents of Woodward, OK, who suffered devastating losses due to severe storms, hail, and tornadoes that struck from April 13 to April 15 of 2012. When Oklahoma's Republican governor Mary Fallin requested a disaster declaration from President Obama after the storms, she was met with a quick and resonating "no" from the President. While small on the scale of natural disasters, the storms devastated this town in northwestern Oklahoma. Six died and 36 were injured, and more than 220 businesses and homes suffered damage; 73 structures were completely destroyed. The President's refusal, based solely upon political grounds, was eerily reminiscent of the response from Congress to a disaster that I lived through; the April 3, 1974 tornado that destroyed most of my hometown of Xenia, Ohio. After that disaster, the Democratically controlled Congress refused to appropriate any disaster funds for the residents and businesses located in the city. An exodus of both people and businesses leaving Xenia happened for the next several years after the tornado. Still considered to be one of the most devastating tornadoes in history, the Xenia tornado event did not even cross the radar of the Democratic majority in Congress at that time. That's because the state had overwhelmingly voted for Richard Nixon in the 1972 election. While the death toll of 33 and the injury total of more than 2,000 (which was equal to over 13% of the city's population at that time) certainly pales in comparison to some of the national disasters that we have experienced in the U.S. since then, at that time, it was considered to be the most devastating natural event, from a single tornado, in the modern record-keeping era for weather in the U.S, after the invention of the Fujita Scale. All of the schools in Xenia were either damaged or completely destroyed, along with the entire business district. Half of the buildings in Xenia received property damage. In fact, while the estimated wind speed was in excess of 300 MPH, we simply do not know what the fastest wind speed of that tornado was. The actual wind speed is still in dispute among most meteorologists today. I can tell you that it was extremely unsettling as we waited for days on end while no help was forthcoming from the federal government; just like in Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. No one in the federal government was offering our residents free child care or legal help. In the case of both the Xenia storm and the Woodward storm, the Democrats in Congress had absolutely no sympathy for the residents of either. It was "make do with what you have", and as to federal help, "dream on". I remember delivering water to residents of Xenia in the days after the storm; some had not had fresh water for more than a day after the tornado. I didn't see any members of the FBI or the ATF coming to our rescue with water in hand. With no electricity, the American Red Cross came to our rescue to help us all cope with the devastation; thank goodness they came. There were no offers of free mental health services to any of us. Instead, school aged children, like I was at that time, were expected to "tough it out". The same message was sent to the children and families in Oklahoma after the Woodward storms. As in all other disaster spending decisions made by Democrats, help comes primarily to those who support the Democratic party; and to the rest, the Democrats prefer to say "let them eat cake."
The residents in Woodward were extended loans by the Small Business Administration, but no grants, and no promises of cancellation of those obligations by the Obama administration. Yet, it's okay to selectively cancel out those loans to your political supporters in New Orleans, and in the New York City metro area? How on earth can the emotional damage from the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT be any greater than it was to the children emotionally scarred by the tornadoes in Woodward and Xenia? The fact is that the children in Woodward and Xenia were just as devastated. The truth of the popularity of disaster victims is that the degree to which victims of disasters are treated is based solely upon the political context given to them by Democrats and their willing allies in the mainstream media. The mainstream media never sent any reporters to Woodward, OK, and the mainstream media members who came to Xenia after the tornado in 1974 were there only to cover President Nixon's visit in the days after the storm. After Nixon left Xenia, so did the Washington based reporters who came with him. Xenia, OH, like Woodward, OK, just was not important enough to the Democrats.
The Democrats like to claim that only they can represent the American middle class best. The real fact is that, based upon the experiences of those of us who lived through the disasters in Xenia and Woodward, they only represent members of the middle class who happen to live in regions of the country where Democrats rule the political processes. While this is nothing new to the residents of Greene County, OH, or Woodward County, OK, the extent to which Democrats in Congress would just completely ignore the primary reason why there should be disaster relief granted to residents and businesses in the Hurricane Sandy impact area, who should receive money from the U.S. Treasury, couched in the form of legislation to benefit those impacted by Sandy, and participate in the "evolution" of disaster relief legislation to the extent that they would compel all of us to bow down to the god of environmental activism, "climate change", as a condition for rebuilding, or to agree to a "dispute resolution process" that would be controlled equally by the White House and the insurance industry, where the citizen no longer has any ability to appeal a bad decision made by a Washington bureaucrat, is completely beyond logic.
Until President Obama and the Democrats in the Senate are willing to help Woodward in a meaningful way, that includes not requiring repayment of those loans from the SBA, along with new capital improvements fully funded by the federal government that will help to make the city better than before the storm, I say the communities in the northeast U.S. affected by Hurricane Sandy should "make do with what they have". In my opinion, that seems the only appropriate and fair thing to do right now