Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, said she would only vote to replenish the federal disaster fund if new spending was offset by budget cuts. She said those cuts should come from "non-defense discretionary spending." Hayworth likened her position to a family skipping vacation if it was overwhelmed by bills.Which isn't to say she's alone in this stand. Led by House Majority Leader Cantor, we've seen several Republicans make similar statements in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
I think this deserves a response a little more pointed than most. While I may be delayed in responding to Cantor himself, I sent the following to Majority Leader Cantor through his online system all the same, and am republishing it here in its entirety. If you happen to agree with my statement, you may feel free to adopt it as your own. I think this is a message that Cantor and his Republican caucus need to hear, and I think we need to get him to hear it.
Contact the House Majority Leader through this online form.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor,
I am writing this to you in regards to your recently publicized stance on disaster relief and your demand for spending cuts to offset any relief that may be requested. This letter applies not only to you, but to all the members of your caucus that have made similar statements.
Let me make this clear. There are people across the east coast of the United States that have been hammered hard by Hurricane Irene. Flooding widespread in the Northeast. Roads destroyed in North Carolina. Power out for entire counties in Maryland. Thanks to careful preparation, we were fortunate enough to have few casualties, but infrastructure has been hit hard along the entire northern half of the East Coast. Repairs are underway, but repairs are going to cost money.
Paying those bills is not an option. Restoring the infrastructure that has been destroyed and ensuring the flow of critical supplies into those affected areas is not an option. It is something that must be done. By threatening not to allow disaster spending unless you get budget cuts, you have chosen to hold the health and well-being of thousands of people (some in your district) hostage to your desire for a smaller government.
Should you actually follow through on that threat - fail to get spending cuts and vote against disaster relief - you will have chosen to preserve the harm that Irene has dealt out to thousands of American citizens. And that merely to prevent the "harms" that come from big government... harms that do not even come close to destroyed roads, widespread flooding, and mass power outages, if they truly exist at all.
This choice is one that I simply cannot understand. Your role as a representative is to stand for your constituents and for the people of the United States. With this, you threaten those same people with continued hardship if your demands are not adequately met. I submit that this is not appropriate behavior for a representative of the people of the United States.