But before we move on, it's worth pausing to note the partisan split on Sandy relief -- in the Senate, 36 Senate Republicans, including members representing coastal states like Florida, Texas, Alabama, and the Carolinas, voted against the federal aid. Or put another way, 80% of Senate Republicans opposed post-Sandy relief.
What we're seeing, in other words, is a fundamental shift in how GOP policymakers respond to communities struggling after a natural disaster.
For generations, these votes were not politicized or considered particularly controversial -- Americans could count on their elected representatives to step up if a natural disaster struck. It wasn't partisan and it wasn't ideological; this is just what the country did. It was a reflection of who we are.
Indeed, those days are over. The majority of Republicans now approach natural disasters as political fodder, another opportunity to push for massive cuts to other domestic spending. Tax cuts to the wealthy? Why, those pay for themselves. Rebuilding destroyed communities populated by millions of Americans? Only if you cut other government programs.
And the worst of these Republicans who voted no for Sandy relief, is Missouri Senator Roy Blunt. Flashback to May 2011:
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says he’s asking the federal government to reimburse 100 percent of the cost to local governments dealing with the Joplin tornado aftermath.
“I’m asking for 100 percent federal reimbursement to local governments,” Blunt said, “They’ve agreed to 75. I think they have to come to a better number than that, and the right number, I think, would be 100 percent.”
Now look at that close. See any offsets in those demands?