So this sure sounds like a replay of last year's disgraceful tactic of holding disaster aid money hostage to spending cuts, right? I mean, this is a leading Tea Party guy and he should know what he's talking about, right?
TAMPA, Florida — Though many Republicans are fretting about the optics of holding their party’s convention as Hurricane Isaac slams into New Orleans, a leading Tea Party congressman is vowing to use the opportunity to extract budget cuts if Congress wants to dole out disaster funding to help victims.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told ThinkProgress at a Hispanic Leadership Network luncheon that Republicans should take a similar approach with disaster funding for Hurricane Isaac as they did after natural disasters last year. In 2011, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) led the Republican charge to deny disaster funding following major hurricanes and tornadoes unless the federal budget was cut in other areas.
Labrador said that Congress must “readjust everything we do” in order to find cuts to pay for Hurricane Isaac disaster relief. “If there’s emergencies, we don’t always need to keep borrowing money,” said the freshman Republican.
And yet, funding for just this sort of emergency has already been set aside. So either Rep. Labrador is stupid (which is always possible, since he's a Tea Party guy) - or your plain old Republican liar:
WASHINGTON (AP) — As Hurricane Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, there should be plenty of money — some $1.5 billion — in federal disaster aid coffers, thanks, in part, to a new system that budgets help for victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods before they occur.
It's a system that Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee-to-be for vice president, had hoped to scrap as a way to make his House GOP budget look smaller by about $10 billion a year. Politely, party elders told him no way, at least for now.
Capitol Hill Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana were the driving force behind the new disaster funding scheme and made it part of last summer's hard-fought budget pact with backing from President Barack Obama. Prior to that, the president had given short shrift to budgeting for disasters before a spate of them early last year, including tornadoes that ripped through Missouri and Alabama.
Congresses and administrations, after all, always had been fairly forthcoming with whatever disaster aid was needed after the fact, though the rise to power of tea party Republicans contributed to delays in providing disaster money last year.
The new system means disaster aid will not have to compete with other programs for financing, nor have to rely on less certain ad hoc funding at the height of a crisis.
Instead, disaster money was added on top of the official budget "cap" in line with the amounts budgeted in prior years.