We here in California have reason to be worried about this Congress…at least with the current House of Representatives. Because apparently, according to John Boehner, Paul Ryan, et. al., the only states allowed to have natural disasters are in the Midwest or South.
Given that California, being in the West, is prone to earthquakes, this is particularly bad news.
On the last day of the 112th Congress, Speaker John Boehner refused to call for a vote on $60 billion of aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Speculation was that, as the House had just voted to raise taxes (on the very wealthy only, but that’s beside the point), he didn’t want to pass a huge spending bill right after. Conservatives had a hissy fit, saying that the spending wasn’t “paid for”, that there were no offsets in other spending to make up for it.
Now, to be clear, this is the same chamber…under much the same leadership…that voted in 2005 for massive relief for states affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, that picked up the tab for disaster spending in the wake of the great floods that swept through the Midwest and the rash of tornadoes that hit the deep South and Southeast. They also routinely vote aid to Florida, which is routinely hit by hurricanes…although it might do to remember that a Republican President thoroughly botched aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and another botched the response to Katrina in 2005.
So why is Sandy different?
Could it be that the effected states are in the Northeast? Could it be that these states routinely give their votes to Democrats? That the accents are Bronx and Brooklyn not Mississippi or Texas? Are the states of the Gulf Coast somehow more deserving than those of the North Atlantic? Or do governors like Perry of Texas or Jindal of Louisiana or Scott of Florida do a better job of kissing the butts of their overlords in Washington than are Governors Christie, Cuomo and Malloy.
The irony is that the three states most damaged by Sandy…New York, New Jersey and Connecticut…probably paid more than their fair share in the aid going to the red states of the South and Midwest. These states pay far more in Federal taxes than they receive in Federal services. Isn't it time, really, for these states to get the aid they need without red state bickering?
We in California worry and wonder what would have happened had the current crew been in charge in 1994 when the Northridge earthquake struck us. We’re fairly sure that if a disaster of some sort struck Ohio, Speaker Boehner would be leading the charge to provide aid. On the other hand, some in his own party have been loud and vociferous in challenging his callous decisions in this case. We can only hope that he and his fellow troglodytes the message.
On the other hand, he does have one other foot to shoot himself in.