"We don't have any money," Brown said, echoing a common GOP talking point. "Let's say FEMA needs an additional $1 billion. Forty-two cents of every dollar that they give FEMA will have to be borrowed. So we have to start making these choices."
Conservatives have been beating this drum for a long time, but by and large the national standard has been that in emergency situations, the government doesn't offset emergency spending. This was true for Katrina and for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other expenditures.
It's still not clear how much, if any, federal disaster relief coastal states will need after Hurricane Irene, but led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the GOP currently seems prepared to make sure it's all offset with spending cuts.