Gov. Bob McDonnell rarely breaks with GOP leadership in Washington, but opposed Rep. Eric Cantor’s plan to hold FEMA disaster relief as a political hostage in an attempt to make Democrats look bad. Not only did Cantor’s scheme ultimately fail, but as the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, Cantor’s obstruction may have held up aid to Virginia disaster victims:
On Friday, Cantor held a conference call with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Louisa County officials. A readout of the call provided by Cantor’s office indicates that he asked FEMA officials about the timeline and process for determining whether the agency would grant federal assistance. ‘FEMA said they have received the Governor’s request and sent it to the White House for a decision but could not provide any specific information on timing,” the readout said. “Even when asked for an estimate based on past applications they were unable to do so.”
Clearly it’s a bit rich that Cantor is trying to make sure disaster relief funds get to his district as quickly as possible given that he was perhaps the key actor in the Capitol Hill showdown which threatened to halt all of FEMA’s activities.
There’s another implication here, though, that Cantor may ultimately be responsible for the delay. If he’d just said nothing — never insisted for emergency supplemental funds for disaster relief be offset — then disaster aid wouldn’t have gotten mired in a budget fight, and the funds might have been easier to come by.
You have to wonder if McDonnell will be able to shake his share of responsibility on this one. Basically what he’s saying is, I support Eric Cantor’s dangerous pandering to the Tea Party in every case except when it directly endangers disaster relief for Virginians and might make me look like I’m putting politics ahead of what’s best for Virginia.