As expected, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will try to see to it that federal disaster aid to regions damaged by Hurricane Irene be offset by concomitant cuts to other federal programs.
“Yes there’s a federal role, yes we’re going to find the money — we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so,” Cantor told Fox News on Monday.This won’t be a shock to close observers of the House GOP, who’ve seen this script before. Cantor’s staff reiterated the cuts-for-aid policy to TPM Thursday. But it will surprise voters who, for instance, recall trillion-dollar unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cantor points out that the House passed a billion additional dollars of disaster relief (offset by a cut to a program incentivizing the production of fuel efficient vehicles) aimed at tornado stricken regions in Missouri and Alabama that the Senate hasn’t acted on. But that money’s part of a broad Homeland Security appropriations bill, not stand-alone legislation, and the damage Irene caused is expected to run into the billions — the earliest estimates had total losses at about $7 billion.
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