Here we go again, kids! It seems like every time a natural disaster hits this country the dickbag politicians come out of the woodwork to make as much personal gain as possible off of the suffering of their constituents. We witnessed this in spectacular form back in May when the mayor of Cordova, Alabama – the less-than-Honorable Jack Scott – screwed over the people who put him into office by not allowing FEMA trailers in town for those whose houses had been destroyed in a series of horrific tornadoes. To Mr. Scott’s credit, our story on him is still the most-viewed thing we have ever published, so good on you, Mayor.
With this kind of precedent, it should come as no surprise that in the wake of Hurricane Irene we would be seeing more of this despicable behavior. Enter Republican Representative Nan Hayworth of New York’s 19th District. Her district, compromising a few counties Upstate, was one of the hardest hit in the storm, and Hayworth immediately filed for it to be declared a disaster zone and for federal money to be brought in to help rebuild. But that request came with a pretty hefty caveat, something so disgusting and steeped in politics that it literally makes my blood run cold. Hayworth insisted that any federal funds spent on disaster relief – including those spent in her own district – be offset by spending cuts.
Holy shit, right? I thought we had seen the end of this nonsense when the stupid debt ceiling bill passed and Congress received its lowest approval rating in history because of idiotic partisan shenanigans like this. Apparently, and against all common logic, I am capable of naiveté after all.
Hayworth’s sentiments mirror those of House Majority Leader and class-A dickbag Eric Cantor who, before the storm even hit, said that no relief funds should be distributed without off-setting cuts in spending elsewhere. After his district was hit, however, he predictably backed off of that position and claimed that it was the Democrats who were holding up funds. Of course, that’s because the bill that appropriated cash for disaster relief drew the money from a Homeland Security fund and contained a whole lot of extra provisions that Democrats would have an extraordinarily hard time voting for, but that’s another story.
At the time of this writing, though, Rep. Hayworth has not backed off of anything. This quote is from August 31, several days after the hurricane hit:
“We’re facing a natural disaster in the middle of an economic disaster,” Hayworth said Wednesday. “The federal government has to balance its budget the way our families do.”
She said there are “plenty of options” for government to find the money in “non-military discretionary funding,” and it should be a collaborative effort between members of the House and Senate.
“Spending is going to be pared down significantly. There’s no question about it,” Hayworth said.
Catch that? “Non-military discretionary spending”. Because we can’t take money away from killing brown people to rebuild our own goddamned cities. just for giggles, I looked at Hayworth’s voting record to see what kind of money-saving measures she’s voted for. There were absolutely no surprises. She voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood and NPR, to end regularly scheduled wage increases for federal employees, to strip funding from a federal program that helped homeowners who were put underwater in their mortgages by the housing market crash refinance their loans and to take away money for state health insurance exchanges promised by the Healthcare Reform Bill. On the other hand, she voted against a bill prohibiting federal funds being used for NASCAR sponsorships and has voted for every increase in defense spending put before her. So, you know, we can clearly see where her priorities lie.
But all of that is beside the point. Though Irene wasn’t anywhere near as bad a disaster as we were all afraid it would be, it was still a disaster. People have lost their homes, businesses and the infrastructure that makes their lives possible. Budget cutting issues – especially those that are clearly referred to as being “non-military discretionary spending” cuts – are a political problem that we can all deal with after the fucking damage has been repaired. To push your agenda at the expense of your constituents’ lives is the absolute vilest possible thing one can do as a representative.
How about this, Rep. Hayward: you get your fucking hurricane-ravaged community fixed first and we’ll worry about the budget later. Or, alternately, we call the estimated $7billion it will take to recover from the storm recompense for the $6.6 billion earmarked for rebuilding Iraq that just mysteriously disappeared. Either way works for me.
It never ceases to amaze me how little regard politicians show for the well-being of Americans when it comes time to push their agendas. I have little doubt that I’ll be writing another of these articles if hurricane Katia hits the US next week.