Even for House Republicans, who in the face of crisis are always ready to say no to solutions, this is low:
House Republicans abruptly pulled the plug Tuesday night on their promise to take up this week an emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The decision is a stunning reversal since just hours before New Jersey lawmakers were preparing for floor debate Wednesday as outlined under a strategy promoted by no less than Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Indeed the Appropriations Committee had gone so far as to file a $27 billion bill Tuesday together with an amendment to be offered by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) seeking an additional $33 billion to match the Senate passed package of last week.
Absent a change of heart, the upshot now is that the Senate bill will die with this Congress on Thursday at noon. And the whole affair is sure to bring back memories of the famous Daily News headline in 1975-“Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
To recap: Hurricane Sandy killed at least 105 people in the U.S., including two Virginians, and knocked out power to 8.5 million homes & businesses, including 180,000 here in Virginia. With at least 240 Virginia homes damaged, Gov. Bob McDonnell asked for federal disaster relief. It’s not the first time Rep. Cantor has turned his back on disaster victims, including those in his own district. You may recall Rep. Cantor holding Virginia earthquake disaster aid hostage to Tea Party ideology. Cantor also blocked Japanese tsunami aid, claiming Americans are too poor to help suffering people.
Other, more responsible Republicans from states hit hard by Hurricane Sandy are furious with House Republican leadership:
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) lit into House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other House Republicans on Wednesday for adjourning the night before without taking up Hurricane Sandy relief legislation.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful,” King said on CNN. “People in my party, they wonder why they’re becoming a minority party. They’re writing off New York, they’re writing off New Jersey. Well, they’ve written me off, and they’re gonna have a hard time getting my vote, I can tell you that.”
King said that Republicans have no problem finding New York when they want to raise money. In light of Tuesday’s inaction, King said, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes to the National Republican Congressional Committee should have their “head examined.”
Look, I don’t care if you’re a progressive or a centrist or a conservative. I don’t understand people can go to the polls and cast your ballot for someone like Eric Cantor who refuses to help disaster victims in their hour of need. It’s not a question of partisanship or ideology. It’s a question of human decency.