Looks like Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor is getting some push back from Republican governors in states ravaged by Hurricane Irene after his statements calling for budget cuts before funding for disaster relief.
As Ed Schultz discussed during this segment, it looks like Cantor may be backing away from his rigid stance, even if it's ever so slightly, now that he's being criticized from the likes of his state's Gov. Bob McDonnell and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), along with some of his House GOP colleagues, have been saying that disaster aid for the areas affected by Hurricane Irene must be offset by, in Cantor’s words, “savings elsewhere.” Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) said yesterday on Bloomberg News that budget cuts must be a prerequisite for disaster aid in order to reassure “the business markets.” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) added that the days when disaster relief could be funded without offsetting budget cuts “are gone.”
However, not everyone in the GOP agrees that disaster funding should play second fiddle to the GOP’s budget-slashing agenda. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) yesterday broke with Cantor, saying that “I don’t think it’s the time to get into that [deficit] debate“:
Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell, breaking with Cantor, on Tuesday suggested that deficit-spending concerns should not be a factor as Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) respond to the hurricane.
“My concern is that we help people in need,” McDonnell said during his monthly radio show. “For the FEMA money that’s going to flow, it’s up to them on how they get it. I don’t think it’s the time to get into that [deficit] debate.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn't have any kind words for Cantor and his fellow Republicans as well and slammed them for the games they were playing during the debt-ceiling hostage taking, and said the citizens of his state weren't going to wait around for similar games with their disaster relief. From the HuffPo -- Chris Christie: Don't Delay Hurricane Irene Disaster Aid Over Federal Spending Cuts:
Firebrand Gov. Chris Christie let loose against Congress on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't let a fight brewing in Washington over whether disaster aid needs to be offset by federal spending cuts hurt Hurricane Irene flood victims in his state.
"Our people are suffering now, and they need support now. And they (Congress) can all go down there and get back to work and figure out budget cuts later," the Republican governor told a crowd in the flood-ravaged town of Lincoln Park.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has less than $800 million in its disaster coffers, and U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said the House will require offsetting spending cuts to pay for aid.
Christie, who some Republicans are pushing to run for the White House in 2012, chastised Congress – with three members of the state's delegation standing feet away as he did – for playing games at a time when people need government assistance most.
Christie said that he doesn't want to hear that offsetting budget cuts have to come before aid is distributed and that such a discussion isn't appropriate in a time of need, like in May, when a tornado ripped through Joplin, Mo., killing 160 people and damaging about 7,500 homes.
"Nobody was asking about offsetting budget cuts in Joplin," the governor said.